, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 337–351

Infanticide in chimpanzees: Review of cases and a new within-group observation from the Kanyawara study group in Kibale National Park

  • Adam Clark Arcadi
  • Richard W. Wrangham

DOI: 10.1007/BF02557557

Cite this article as:
Arcadi, A.C. & Wrangham, R.W. Primates (1999) 40: 337. doi:10.1007/BF02557557


A prolonged attack on a mother and 2-year-old infant that resulted in the death of the infant was observed in the Kanyawara study group in Kibale National Park. The mother was a border-area resident who was first observed associating with unit-group males six years previously. The attackers were an adult male and an adult female with a 6-week-old infant clinging ventrally to her. The attack was unusual in several respects: it is the first time a male and a female chimpanzee have been observed cooperating closely in an infanticidal attack; the adult female initially attempted to intervene in the victim's behalf, but later joined in the attack after receiving aggression from the male; and the episode was longer in duration than other reported cases. In the year following the incident, the mother did not increase her association with community males, but was seen with the male who killed her infant. The relevance of these observations to sexual selection-based explanations for infanticide in chimpanzees is discussed.

Key Words

ChimpanzeeInfanticideCooperationSexual selectionKanyawara

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Clark Arcadi
    • 1
  • Richard W. Wrangham
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sociology/AnthropologyHofstra UniversityHempsteadUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA