, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 364-384

Further studies on predation by chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains

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Abstract

Chimpanzees of the M-group in the Mahale Mountains, Tanzania, were seen to commit predation 15 times between May 1978 and July 1979. The data appear to suggest that they come to perform predation frequently in recent years. However, for evaluating long-term changes in their predatory disposition, several factors must be considered, such as changes in research formation, in the degree of habituation of the chimpanzees and in the influence of humans on prey animals. These factors should be also considered when the findings of various populations are compared.

It seems that an adult male can more easily control his desire for exclusive possession of meat than that of plant-food. Adult males have priority over females in obtaining meat, but all of the former cannot join the meat-eating cluster. Besides the dominance rank, dyadic relationships between them may regulate whether an adult male can join it. This suggests that all adult males in a unit-group may not be tied by an equal bond.

The evolutionary implications of chimpanzee predation are discussed on the basis of the assumption that both chimpanzee predation and human hunting originated in some habit of a common ancestor.