Social networks in primates: smart and tolerant species have more efficient networks

Network optimality has been described in genes, proteins and human communicative networks. In the latter, optimality leads to the efficient transmission of information with a minimum number of connections. Whilst studies show that differences in centrality exist in animal networks with central individuals having higher fitness, network efficiency has never been studied in animal groups. Here we studied 78 groups of primates (24 species). We found that group size and neocortex ratio were correlated with network efficiency. Centralisation (whether several individuals are central in the group) and modularity (how a group is clustered) had opposing effects on network efficiency, showing that tolerant species have more efficient networks. Such network properties affecting individual fitness could be shaped by natural selection. Our results are in accordance with the social brain and cultural intelligence hypotheses, which suggest that the importance of network efficiency and information flow through social learning relates to cognitive abilities.

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Pasquaretta, Cristian
Leve, Marine
Claidiere, Nicolas
van de Waal, Erica
Whiten, Andrew
MacIntosh, Andrew J. J.
Pele, Marie
Bergstrom, Mackenzie L.
Borgeaud, Christele
Brosnan, Sarah F.
Crofoot, Margaret C.
Fedigan, Linda M.
Fichtel, Claudia
Hopper, Lydia M.
Mareno, Mary Catherine
Petit, Odile
Schnoell, Anna Viktoria
Polizzi di Sorrentino, Eugenia
Thierry, Bernard
Tiddi, Barbara
Sueur, Cedric
Nature Publishing Group, London , Regno Unito
Scientific reports (Nature Publishing Group) 4 (2014). doi:10.1038/srep07600
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Pasquaretta, Cristian; Leve, Marine; Claidiere, Nicolas; van de Waal, Erica; Whiten, Andrew; MacIntosh, Andrew J. J.; Pele, Marie; Bergstrom, Mackenzie L.; Borgeaud, Christele; Brosnan, Sarah F.; Crofoot, Margaret C.; Fedigan, L
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