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Female Social Dynamics: Fidelity and Flexibility

Female Social Dynamics: Fidelity and Flexibility

(p.205) Chapter 13 Female Social Dynamics: Fidelity and Flexibility
The Amboseli Elephants
Cynthia J. MossPhyllis C. Lee
University of Chicago Press

This chapter, which describes female elephant social organization and dynamics at the individual, family, and bond group levels in the Amboseli population, examines both the consistency and changes that have occurred over a period of 30 years. By analyzing association and grouping patterns among female elephants, it demonstrates the nature of the flexible fission–fusion society that allows for individual responses to environmental, demographic, and social conditions. Although many of these responses are based on costs and benefits for the individual, the social responses of elephants are far more complex than those predicted by a simple cost-benefit analysis at a single point in time. Females make social decisions over long periods of time as well as responding to social and ecological opportunities and conditions on a day-to-day and even an hour-to-hour basis.

Keywords:   female elephant, social organization, fidelity, grouping pattern, social conditions, social decision

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