A series of experiments was designed to elucidate the underlying bases of the signatures by which littermate A. cahirinus are discriminated from unfamiliar age-mates. When observed in groups of four animals each, unfamiliar non-kin that had been fed the same distinctively flavoured diet interacted more frequently than those fed different diets. Observed frequencies of dyadic pairing were similar among nonkin fed the same diet versus littermates that had been separated and maintained on different diets; however, frequencies of dyadic pairings by both of these classes of age-mates were significantly greater than pairings by non-kin fed opposite diets. Littermates that were directly familiar with one another and also ate the same diet huddled together more often than did animals that had either been raised together or ate the same diet. These data, in conjunction with previous related research, suggest that diet and genotype contribute additively to the phenotypic signatures mediating social recognition in A. cahirinus. © 1989.
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