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Why chimpanzee ( Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii ) mothers are less gregarious than nonmothers and males: the infant safety hypothesis.

Otali, E and Gilchrist, Jason (2006) Why chimpanzee ( Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii ) mothers are less gregarious than nonmothers and males: the infant safety hypothesis. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 59 (4). pp. 561-570. ISSN 03405443

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Abstract/Description

Socialization of young is an important component of maternal care in social mammals. It is therefore perplexing that female chimpanzees with dependent offspring spend more time alone than females without dependent offspring, and than males. We propose that chimpanzee mothers are less gregarious than nonmothers and males to reduce the risk of injury that aggressive males pose to their offspring. We predict that mothers will associate less with males, associate with fewer males, and reduce mother−infant proximity in the presence of males, and that these effects will reduce with increasing offspring age. We test whether the pattern of gregariousness and mother−offspring proximity support these predictions in the Kanyawara chimpanzee community in Uganda. The probability that a female was found in the presence of males was lower for mothers than nonmothers and increased with offspring age. The probability that a female was found with other females did not differ between mothers and nonmothers. Mother-to-offspring distance was higher when a mother was in an all-female group than in a mixed-sex group and increased with her offspring's age. Mother-to-offspring distance was greatest when there were relatively low numbers of males and relatively high numbers of females in a subgroup. We propose that mothers avoid grouping with males because of the vulnerability of their young, and that the presence of males in a subgroup increases a female's protectiveness of her young. We discuss the implications of our findings and the relevance of fission−fusion group formation to chimpanzee mothers.

Item Type: Article
Print ISSN: 03405443
Electronic ISSN: 14320762
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chimpanzee; Pan troglodytes; Gregariousness; Mother−offspring proximity; Reduced socialisation; Female protectiveness; Test population; Kanyawara, Uganda;
University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Health, Life & Social Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology) > 599 Mammals > 599.8 Primates
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology) > 591 Specific topics in natural history > 591.5 Behaviour
Library of Congress Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Item ID: 1707
Depositing User: RAE Import
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2008 15:00
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2013 11:20
URI: http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/id/eprint/1707

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