Consequently, female dominance continues to be compartmentalized and dismissed as a clade-specific peculiarity [Lewis, ] even though it is found in other primates, other mammals, and other vertebrates [Ralls, ; Smith, ; Jolly, ; Wright, ; Dunham, ; Holenkamp and Engh, ; French et al. Power is defined by 4 characteristics, i. Indeed, because hierarchies function to clarify the allocation of resources and reduce disputes, conflicts are expected to be rare when status is well resolved.
Until primatologists can agree on how to define, measure, and analyze female dominance, adaptive explanations will continue to be elusive. Thus, an asymmetry within the dyad in the need for an inalienable resource or a service can be a base of Alternative female domination. The final characteristic of power, i. Similarly, an alliance partner can exercise leverage by opting not to offer coalitionary support Fig. These more subtle means of power are not always taken into in the traditional, narrower dominance framework, which emphasizes agonistic interactions.
Female power: a new framework for understanding “female dominance” in lemurs
An individual may have a greater magnitude of power in one context than in another. Methods that rely on asing status based upon conflicts may, therefore, focus on a narrow range of social dynamics. Moreover, different methods of determining dominance can Alternative female domination to different [Lewis, ]. In this example, the female has a greater amount of power in the feeding context than in the resting context in her Alternative female domination with male A. In the feeding context, she has a greater amount of power in her relationship with male A versus male B.
In the resting context, however, she has a greater amount of power in her relationship with male B versus male A. Thus, according to the power framework, measuring the amount of power is critical for understanding a dyadic relationship because it addresses the fact that power can sometimes be situational. Some species may even have both female dominance and female leverage. However, economic power also exists, and females with resource-based power exhibit female leverage. Power is dyadic and these terms must be understood as shorthand for the intersexual dyadic relationships in a species [Lewis, ].
Females may have both of these types of power or just one. Leverage, on the other hand, is economic power, i. For example, when an individual increases its fighting ability by enlisting the help of a coalition partner, this base of power is labeled as derived dominance Fig. Note that dominance refers to the ability to influence another due to an asymmetry in the underlying physical abilities to coerce and not the actual use of force itself.
A species should only be called female dominant if females have a greater ability to use force than males. While primatologists agree that female dominance exists, researchers have argued for decades about the definition. Some individuals are able to evoke asymmetrical grooming as a result of their power. Other aspects of female power are elucidated with this framework. Importantly, the framework le to novel predictions and reintegrates the study of female dominance in lemurs within the broader ethological literature [Lewis, ].
Other individuals exhibit power by being able to evoke peaceful contact after conflicts [e. The base of power explains the source of power — in other words, the specific asymmetry that causes one individual to have the ability to influence another. Dominance is power based upon fighting ability and can further be subdivided into 2 types because the asymmetry in the ability to use force may be intrinsic or derived. This classification system has not been adopted widely, however [but see Eichmueller et al. During this time period, primatological theory was heavily influenced by a historical focus on catarrhines and cultural stereotypes about gender [Strier, ; Lewis, ].
While both female priority of access to resources in the context of feeding and the ability to evoke submissive als from males may occur together receiving submissive als in the feeding contextthese characteristics of power may also occur independently. If A needs a coalition partner to achieve derived dominance over B but only C is available as a potential collaborator, then C has substantial leverage in its relationship with A.
C can exercise this leverage over A by refusing to collaborate. Over the intervening decades, a substantial amount of new data on a wider variety of species has become available, more sophisticated statistical analysis has become the norm, a greater appreciation of intraspecific behavioral variation has developed [Strier, ], and ethological theory has changed considerably [e. However, aggression is only one of many ways for an individual to achieve its goal.
This method, however, merges distinct characteristics of power and clouds the phenomenon. Coalitions have the potential to produce both dominance and leverage. Powerful individuals can also influence the behavior of another with a reward Alternative female domination by simply refusing to act Fig. For example, a female can exercise leverage by means of refusing to mate with a male [Lewis, ].
This type of power is very different from the power of a female to evoke a spontaneous submissive al from a male in any context. One key factor complicating the search for evolutionary explanations of female dominance is a lack of consensus regarding how to define the phenomenon. Asing dominance status by recording who wins a conflict can produce rankings that differ from the rankings produced by asing status according to the direction of aggression or submission. In this framework, power is defined as arising from an asymmetry in a dyadic relationship and can be divided into 2 types: dominance and leverage.
Two different bases of power exist, i. It describes the specific consequence that the more powerful individual is able to evoke in the less powerful individual, such as tolerance, a copulation, and a submissive al. A female might exercise leverage base by using aggression means to get priority of access to resources scope.
Finally, the study of female dominance in lemurs has become intellectually isolated [Lewis, ]. Corresponding Author Rebecca J. Keywords: Strepsirrhine Intersexual relationships Leverage Biological markets. By contrast, social interactions in lemurs continue to be filtered through the lens of female dominance. Aggression i. Recognizing the variation subsumed under a single term, Radespiel and Zimmermann  suggested dividing female dominance into different types, i. Consequently, researchers disagreeing about female dominance are not necessarily referring to the same phenomenon.
However, consensus does not exist among primatologists on how to define, measure, or explain female dominance. Two species, 2 populations, or indeed 2 females may Alternative female domination the same base of power but the other characteristics of power may vary. Nevertheless, no consensus has emerged on why female dominance arises because primatologists dispute the nature of the phenomenon as well as how to study it.
Additionally, power has 4 characteristics base, means, amount, and scope that describe the precise nature of observed phenomena. Lewis  introduced a broader framework of power that combines concepts from the social sciences with concepts from ethology Fig. It is not an evolutionary framework per se.
For decades, primatologists have expressed concern about conflating dominance and aggression [Rowell, ; Bernstein, ]. Lemurs are unusual in that females often dominate males [Hrdy, ; Jolly, ; Kappeler, a].
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Female dominance is often associated with lemurs. This clarification is a necessary step in the endeavor to find evolutionary explanations. Some examples of how female dominance has been defined include: 1 priority of access to resources [Hrdy, ; Jolly, ], 2 consistent directionality of agonism in more than just the feeding context [Roeder and Fornasieri, ], 3 decided aggressive interactions [Pochron et al. Power across all contexts is different from power only in limited contexts.
Many lemur species are monomorphic [Kappeler, b], for instance, and thus more likely exhibit female leverage than female dominance. Thus, in order to best understand female dominance, researchers must adopt a more inclusive concept of power and a more precise terminology. Current understandings of female dominance are rooted in the explosion of research on the topic in the s and s.
Primatologists now tend to focus on spheres of power and rarely investigate male dominance [Lewis, ]. For instance, new infants give baboon [Henzi and Barrett, ] and sifaka [Lewis, ] mothers the leverage to obtain more grooming than females without new infants. While base is the initial asymmetry that in power and means is the instrument of power, the amount of power refers to the probability of winning conflicts in various contexts. Intersexual asymmetries based upon females having superior fighting ability are considered female dominance.
Others have suggested that it is the same as male dominance but with females in control [Wright, ].
This review explores the utility of applying a broader concept of power to understanding lemur intersexual relationships. Researchers often combine scope and amount of power into one category and just record whether an interaction resulted in a win or loss. In addition to differentiating between the bases of power, the power framework emphasizes the importance of distinguishing among the various means of power.
Explanations of female dominance are also hindered by researchers measuring it in different ways. Instead, it helps resolve many of the problems that plague the study of female dominance by incorporating the various definitions into a single framework and facilitates interspecific comparisons by providing a precise terminology.
While this problem of operationalizing dominance troubles all students of animal behavior [e. Similarly, means and scope are combined when researchers analyze aggression and submission as agonistic encounters, even though aggression and submission matrices can differ [e.
Thus, not only is the debate reframed, facilitating endeavors to find evolutionary explanations, but the uniqueness of female power in lemurs can be determined empirically rather than by definition. Terminology used in the power framework that can standardize and reconceptualize power in nonhuman societies. In most other primates and nonprimate mammals, males are dominant over females [Ralls, ; Holenkamp and Engh, ; French et al.
In other species, such as indri Indri indrifemales are larger than males [Smith and Jungers, ; Powzyk, ], and the term female dominance may indeed accurately describe the underlying phenomenon. They may be based upon an asymmetry in intersexual fighting abilities, or they may be based upon leverage derived from limited mating opportunities. Wittig and Boesch , for example, analyzed amount and scope separately and found that the ability to evoke reconciliation varied by context in chimpanzees.