Method for Assigning Categorical Rank in Female Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii via the Frequency of Approaches
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Establishing the order of a dominance hierarchy among female chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) is complicated by the fact that they often forage solitarily, and aggressive interactions between them occur infrequently. Authors of previous studies have typically ranked females via the direction of submissive pant-grunts and the outcome of agonistic interactions. Given that higher rank correlates with higher reproductive success in female chimpanzees, assessing rank is important but may be limited by sparsely populated dominance matrices. I tested the hypothesis that rank predicts the direction of female approaches. There is a significant relationship among Gombe females between the frequency with which a female was approached and her dominance rank. Dominant females approached other females less often than they were approached. Though approached frequencies failed to meet the criteria for formal rank indicators, they may be useful as real indicators of subordination. Because approach interactions occur far more frequently than pant-grunts, they may be useful in assigning categorical rank when traditional dominance metrics are limited.