International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 377–397 | Cite as

Genetic Analyses Suggest Male Philopatry and Territoriality in Savanna-Woodland Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of Ugalla, Tanzania

  • Deborah L. MooreEmail author
  • Kevin E. Langergraber
  • Linda Vigilant


Socioecological models predict that as resources become more sparsely distributed, primate populations will occur at lower densities and this demographic shift may have some effect on social structure. In savanna-woodland habitats, chimpanzees live at lower densities and in larger home ranges compared to forested habitats, presumably because of more widely dispersed food availability. These factors may result in chimpanzee home ranges being economically undefendable, leading to a reduction in male philopatry and territoriality. To test this hypothesis, we genotyped 237 fecal samples collected from Ugalla at 12 autosomal and 13 Y-chromosome microsatellite loci. We considered individuals that were sampled together at the same place and time to have been associating in the same party; with repeated sampling of an individual in different places and with different associates, we established which individuals belonged to the same community and the community locations. We identified 44 females and 69 males, carrying four different Y-chromosome haplotypes. One Y-chromosome haplotype was prevalent and found throughout the study site. The three rarer haplotypes occurred in spatially discrete clusters, which corresponded with the locations of communities identified through analysis of autosomal genotypes. Together with an observation of an aggressive interaction, these results suggest that, like chimpanzees living in species-typical forest habitats, the chimpanzees of Ugalla are organized into male philopatric, territorial communities, and that this social structure is reliably expressed under a variety of ecological conditions. This study reminds us that primate social structures may be adaptive across a range of habitats, and/or subject to phylogenetic constraint.


Chimpanzees Genetics Philopatry Savanna-woodland Social structure Socioecology 



We thank the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) and the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) for permission to conduct the fieldwork for this study. We are very grateful to Mimi Arandjelovic for her extensive support and assistance throughout these analyses and the writing of this manuscript. D. L. Moore thanks James Moore, Fiona Stewart, and Alex Piel for introducing her to the Ugalla site, and is especially grateful to Carolyn Ehardt for introducing her to Tanzania, and for her support and advice throughout the conception and execution of this project. We also thank the editor and anonymous reviewers for valuable suggestions, which improved the manuscript. This research was supported through funding by The Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation, The Leakey Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Lambda Alpha Anthropology Honor Society, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Supplementary material

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Department of PrimatologyMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary AnthropologyLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.School of Human Evolution and Social ChangeArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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