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Dominance Rank, Copulatory Behavior, and Differential Reproduction

Donald A. Dewsbury
The Quarterly Review of Biology
Vol. 57, No. 2 (Jun., 1982), pp. 135-159
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2829552
Page Count: 25
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Dominance Rank, Copulatory Behavior, and Differential Reproduction
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Abstract

The view that high social rank is associated with high levels of both copulatory behavior and the production of offspring is widespread in the study of animal social behavior. In order to demonstrate the validity of this hypothesis it is necessary first to resolve ambiguities in the concept of dominance and to assign ranks by means of valid procedures. Second, copulatory behavior must be properly sampled, measured, and related to rank. Finally, it must be demonstrated that rank and increased copulatory behavior actually lead to increased reproduction. Each step in this process entails conceptual and methodological difficulties. There have been many studies of rank and copulatory behavior, fewer of rank and differential reproduction, and very few of rank, copulatory behavior, and differential reproduction. The consistency of results obtained varies with taxon; results of particular consistency appear in studies of carnivores and ungulates. Both the concept of dominance and the validity of the hypothesis relating it to copulatory behavior and to differential reproduction appear viable for at least some species, although the body of data relating rank to both copulation and differential reproduction remains minimal.

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