, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 318–336 | Cite as

Alpha status and agonistic alliance in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii)

  • T. Nishida


Intermale competition was studied in a habituated group of wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in the Mahale Mountains of Tanzania. The group of 27 individuals included 3 adult males and 12 adult females. The beta-ranked male was observed to attack the alpha male and usurp his status. The beta male was supported by an ally, the gamma male. Earlier in the competition the gamma male had supported the alpha male. When the alpha male was displaced, he completely lost what had been an exclusive copulatory right. It was clear that alliance with the most subordinate male was a critically effective strategy for the major competitors. The alliance strategy of the gamma male invested him with important power. The strategy of changing alliance is referred to as “allegiance fickleness.” It is suggested that allegiance fickleness could provide a basis for individual selection of social intelligence.


Adult Male Adult Female Animal Ecology Individual Selection Wild Chimpanzee 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Nishida
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, Faculty of ScienceThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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