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Primates

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 321–332 | Cite as

Group unity of chimpanzees elucidated by comparison of sex differences in short-range interactions in Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania

  • Tetsuya SakamakiEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) form multi-male and multi-female unit groups with fission–fusion grouping patterns. Short-range interaction (SRI) plays an important role in the unity of these groups and in maintaining social bonds among members. This study evaluated three models of chimpanzee social structure that differed according to the emphasis each placed on social bonds between the sexes, i.e., the male-only, the bisexual, and the male-bonded unit-group model. I investigated differences in SRI between the sexes among group members in well-habituated wild chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania. I followed six focal adult males and six females, and quantified their respective SRI with other chimpanzees. Except between subordinate males and adult females, adults in general engaged in SRI with about 60–90% of the individuals with whom they made visual contact each day, whether in large or small parties. Although the number of social grooming (SGR) partners was limited, male–male SGR networks were wider than were either male–female or female–female SGR networks among adults. The number of contact-seeking behavior (CSB) partners was also limited, but dominant males had more CSB partners. Adult females mainly interacted by pant-grunt greeting (PGG) with adult males, but tended to do so mainly with the highest-ranking male(s) within visual contact. These results indicated that the social bonds among adult males were essential to group unity. Because of clear male dominance, adult females established peaceful coexistence with all group members despite less frequent SRI with subordinate males by maintaining affiliative social bonds with dominant males, thereby supporting the male-bonded unit-group model. Adult females had many female SRI partners, but these interactions did not involve performing conspicuous behaviors, suggesting that females maintain social bonds with other females in ways that differ from how such bonds are maintained with and between adult males.

Keywords

Chimpanzee Short-range interaction Sex differences Group unity Mahale Mountains National Park 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This field research was financially supported by a grant under the COE program (No. 10COE2005 to O. Takenaka) and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (No. 12375003 to T. Nishida) of Monbusho, a Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, and the Leakey Foundation (to T. Nishida). I thank the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, and Tanzania National Parks for permission to conduct the fieldwork. I am also grateful to the Mahale Mountains Wildlife Research Centre and Mahale Mountains National Park for logistical support. I express my gratitude to H. Y. Kayumbo, T. Nemoto, N. Corp, K. Zamma, R. Kitopeni, M. Mwami, and S. Kabangula for their help and cooperation in the field; to T. Nishida, J. Yamagiwa, H. Hayaki, S. Suzuki, G. Yamakoshi, K. Hosaka, M. Nakamura, N. Itoh, and other members of the Laboratory of Human Evolution Studies, Kyoto University, for their encouragement and useful suggestions; and to an anonymous referee for useful comments.

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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Primate Research InstituteKyoto UniversityInuyamaJapan

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