, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 167–224

The social group of wild chimpanzees in the Mahali Mountains

  • Toshisada Nishida

DOI: 10.1007/BF01730971

Cite this article as:
Nishida, T. Primates (1968) 9: 167. doi:10.1007/BF01730971


There are more than six large groups of wild chimpanzees in the study area, which is in the north-eastern part of the Mahali Mountains of Western Tanzainia. One of these groups was provisionized, that is, customarily fed sugar cane and bananas. The characteristics of the social group of wild chimpanzees are clarified by long-term observation of the baited population. The chimpanzees live in a clear-cut social unit which consists of adult males, adult females, and immature animals. The permanency, stable membership, and integrative nature of the unit-group were confirmed during the course of this study. The size of unit-groups ranges from 30 to 80 head.

The unit-group generally splits up into temporary subgroups that repeat joining and parting. The size of the subgroups of the baited population ranges from one to 28 head, the mean being 8.1 head. The centralization of a unitgroup is mainly sustained by the high sociability of adult males. The random nature of the membership of subgroups is emphasized in this paper, although subgroups are usually composed by social bonds on the basis of similar age, sex, blood relationship, and/or sexual attraction.

The inter-unit-group interaction is peaceful; the subordinate unit-group avoids the dominant one. The home ranges of unit-groups overlap each other extensively, the overlapping areas being used flexibly by both unit-groups on the basis of dominance-subordination relationship. The member-exchange among unit-groups may sometimes occur, but the extent of openness or closedness of a unit-group has not been well elucidated.

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toshisada Nishida
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Physical AnthropologyKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan