Human children have the critical developmental step of socializing partially met through peer-to-peer interactions. Similarly, Ateles geoffroyi (the Central American Spider Monkey) is known to be a social primate where juvenile socialization is critically important for finding food, avoiding predators, preparing for adult life, and handling distinct everyday challenges. A. geoffroyi subadults have a long maturation period (4 to 5 years), and they are more vulnerable to starvation and predation due to their lack of efficiency in foraging and underdeveloped motor skills. The socialization of an A. geoffroyi subadult is crucial to survival, yet limited research on A. geoffroyi subadults suggests socializing interactions mainly display competition for resources and aggressive food-related behavior. There is a lack of further research available about the socialization of A. geoffroyi, other than evidence that they tend to live in social groups with fission-fusion dynamics and often communicate via vocalization. In an attempt to discover how subadult peer-to-peer influence may lead to important socialization skills later in life, I want to investigate how subadult A. geoffroyi interact and socialize with one another. I hypothesize that subadult A. geoffroyi will spend more time socializing with other subadults than with adult A. geoffroyi. This research project will be conducted at La Selva Biological Research Station, located in the north-eastern rainforest of Costa Rica, where A. geoffroyi can be observed in its natural habitat. The method of collecting data will be ten second instantaneous focal sampling. Every ten seconds, I will record individual behaviors of play, allogrooming, embracing, food sharing, aggression, vocalizing, resting, self-grooming, locomoting, eating, drinking, and foraging. These individual behaviors will then be categorized as either solitary, social interaction with an adult, social interaction with another subadult, or social interaction with another species. After data collection is complete, the gathered data will be compared with other published data.
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