New Case of Intragroup Infanticide in the Chimpanzees of Gombe National Park
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- Murray, C.M., Wroblewski, E. & Pusey, A.E. Int J Primatol (2007) 28: 23. doi:10.1007/s10764-006-9111-7
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Researchers have reported a total of 31 infanticides in 4 different chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) populations. Though infanticide is infrequent, low reproductive rates of females likely make it a strong selective pressure in the species. We report a new incident of intragroup infanticide in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, in which a community male attacked a 3.5-yr-old male. We then consider the infanticide in terms of adaptive and nonadaptive explanations for infanticide including the social pathology, by-product of male aggression, nutritive benefits, resource competition, and sexual selection hypotheses. The incident reported here is not well explained by any of them. While the infanticide is puzzling in terms of ultimate explanations for infanticide, it provides a good context in which to consider proximate mechanisms for offspring recognition. The incident provides some evidence that males may use their mating history with the mother to assess paternity likelihood.