Page 30

CIM33

30 | In Images cnrs I international magazine Contact information: CEFE, Montpellier. Marie Charpentier > marie.charpentier@cefe.cnrs.fr members stick together.” However impressive, this setup is all the more justified since little is known about these primates. Until now, such detailed studies on mandrills’ social behavior only targeted individuals living in captivity. The team’s observations reveal a matrilineal structure with migrant males, as in baboons and macaques. Mandrill groups are mostly made up of females, with temporary inclusion of adult and adolescent males, only one of which is dominant. “Social connections within a group seem to be mainly determined by family ties. Females with the same mother stick together, but we suspect that individuals with the same father also have close relationships, something genetics can help us confirm.” For this purpose, fecal samples are also collected during observation days in the forest. DNA is extracted from these samples to establish the family relationships of the group members. Another nagging question for Charpentier is kin recognition: “Though it seems easy for individuals with the same mother to recognize one another—as they maintain special ties with her—this appears more difficult for those with the same father, as males do not participate in the rearing of the young and often leave the group after a short time. How do such relatives recognize one another? By their voice? By their smell?” This early April morning, the team will not only take blood or urine samples from the mandrills they capture, they will also record their vocalizations and take odor samples by rubbing pieces of cotton on their skin. One thing is certain, until Charpentier and her team find the answers they are looking for, Lékédi Park will be the destination of many more expeditions. 01. Centre d’écologie fonctionnelle et évolutive (CNRS / UM2 / UM1 / Université Paul-Valéry / Montpellier Sup Agro / EPH E / Cirad / IRD / Inra). 11 12 Sylvère Mboumba, the research station’s manager, analyzes fecal samples to detect gastrointestinal parasites and measure the stress hormone cortisol. 13 Mandrill blood samples are also tested for parasites. 14 Bakoumba, a few kilometers from Lékédi Park, serves as a base camp for the researchers. 15 From their observations, the researchers can now identify 75 individuals with the naked eye. 11 12 13 14 15 © photos : C. DELHAYE/CNRS Photothèque A photo report and the documentary Bakoumba, Forest of Mandrills, can be viewed on the online version of the magazine: > www.cnrs.fr/cnrsmagazine


CIM33
To see the actual publication please follow the link above