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No sex-biased dispersal in a primate with an uncommon social system-cooperative polyandry.

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An influential hypothesis proposed by Greenwood (1980) suggests that different mating systems result in female and male-biased dispersal, respectively, in birds and mammals. However, other aspects of social structure and behavior can also shape sex-biased dispersal. Although sex-specific patterns of kin cooperation are expected to affect the benefits of philopatry and dispersal patterns, empirical evidence is scarce. Unlike many mammals, Saguinus geoffroyi (Geoffroy's tamarin) has a breeding system in which typically multiple males mate with a single breeding female. Males typically form cooperative reproductive partnerships between relatives, whereas females generally compete for reproductive opportunities. This system of cooperative polyandry is predicted to result in female-biased dispersal, providing an opportunity to test the current hypotheses of sex-biased dispersal. Here we test for evidence of sex-biased dispersal in S. geoffroyi using demographic and genetic data from three populations. We find no sex bias in natal dispersal, contrary to the prediction based on the mating patterns. This pattern was consistent after controlling for the effects of historical population structure. Limited breeding opportunities within social groups likely drive both males and females to disperse, suggesting that dispersal is intimately related to the social context. The integration of genetic and field data revealed that tamarins are another exception to the presumed pattern of male-biased dispersal in mammals. A shift in focus from mating systems to social behavior, which plays a role in most all processes expected to influence sex-bias in dispersal, will be a fruitful target for research both within species and across taxa.

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