The study was conducted by researchers at Manchester University and Liverpool University who spent hundreds of hours studying female Barbary macaques at Trentham Monkey Forest in Staffordshire.
The researchers found that monkeys that were in the middle hierarchy were dragged into fights among the monkeys that were both above and below them in an attempt to hold on to their place in the group. The study has been published in the journal General and Comparative Endocrinology
"What we found was that monkeys in the middle of the hierarchy are involved with conflict from those below them as well as from above, whereas those in the bottom of the hierarchy distance themselves from conflict. The middle ranking macaques are more likely to challenge, and be challenged by, those higher on the social ladder", University of Manchester's Dr Susanne Shultz said.