Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 61, Issue 5, pp 661–668 | Cite as

Estrus cycle asynchrony in wild female chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii

  • Akiko Matsumoto-OdaEmail author
  • Miya Hamai
  • Hitosige Hayaki
  • Kazuhiko Hosaka
  • Kevin D. Hunt
  • Eiiti Kasuya
  • Kenji Kawanaka
  • John C. Mitani
  • Hiroyuki Takasaki
  • Yukio Takahata
Original Article


Although estrous synchrony has been reported in a number of mammalian species, most often among primates, methodological and analytical problems make it difficult to interpret these results. We developed a novel estrous synchrony index and employed a randomization procedure to analyze long-term observations of female chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) estrous cycles at the Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania. Our results revealed that female chimpanzees at Mahale avoid synchronizing their estrous periods with each other. We also found that birthrates decreased as the breeding sex ratio increased. We suggest that estrous asynchrony decreases female–female competition for mates. Asynchrony may also reduce the potential for male sexual coercion by nonpreferred mating partners.


Timing of estrus Mating strategy Female competition Sexual conflict Chimpanzees 



T. Nishida, the late S. Uehara, and many others who shared the fieldwork in the Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania; their contribution to the data was indispensable. Besides some of them, F. W. Marlowe, R. Oda, A. E. Pusey, and K. Tsuji commented on earlier versions, which greatly improved this paper. The Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology mainly supported the fieldwork financially. The Tanzania National Parks, Scientific Research Council, Serengeti Wildlife Research Institute, and their subsidiaries facilitated our research. We make grateful acknowledgement to these people and institutions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akiko Matsumoto-Oda
    • 1
    Email author
  • Miya Hamai
    • 2
  • Hitosige Hayaki
    • 3
  • Kazuhiko Hosaka
    • 4
  • Kevin D. Hunt
    • 5
  • Eiiti Kasuya
    • 6
  • Kenji Kawanaka
    • 7
  • John C. Mitani
    • 8
  • Hiroyuki Takasaki
    • 7
  • Yukio Takahata
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Welfare and CultureOkinawa UniversityNahaJapan
  2. 2.Primate Research InstituteKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  3. 3.The Graduate School of Humanities and SciencesKobe Gakuin UniversityKobeJapan
  4. 4.Faculty of Child StudiesKamakura Women’s UniversityKamakuraJapan
  5. 5.Department of AnthropologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  6. 6.Department of BiologyKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  7. 7.Department of Biosphere–Geosphere System ScienceOkayama University of ScienceOkayamaJapan
  8. 8.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  9. 9.School of Policy StudiesKwansei Gakuin UniversityNishinomiyaJapan

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