International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 853–864 | Cite as

Method for Assigning Categorical Rank in Female Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii via the Frequency of Approaches

  • Carson M. MurrayEmail author


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.


approaches chimpanzee female dominance hierarchy Gombe National Park 



I thank Tanzania National Parks, the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, and the Tanzanian Council for Science and Technology for granting me permission to work in Gombe National Park. I also thank the Gombe Stream Research Center for maintaining long-term data collection and the Jane Goodall Institute for providing field assistants (S. Athumani and M. Msafiri) for this study. Finally, I thank I. Gilby, E. Lonsdorf, A. Pusey, and 2 reviewers for helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. A grant from Milton Harris, a Dayton-Wilkie Fellowship, the Jane Goodall Institute, and the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota funded the work.


  1. Altmann, J. (1974). Observational study of behaviour: Sampling methods. Behaviour, 49, 227–262.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Batchelder, W. H., & Bershad, N. J. (1979). The statistical analysis of a Thurstonian model for rating chess players. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 19, 39–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bygott, D. (1979). Agonistic behaviour and dominance in wild chimpanzees. In D. A. Hamburg & E. R. McCown (Eds.), The great apes (pp. 405–427). Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin/Cummings.Google Scholar
  4. Cheney, D. L. (1977). The acquisition of rank and the development of reciprocal alliances among free-ranging immature baboons. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2, 303–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clutton-Brock, T. H., & Gillett, J. B. (1979). A survey of forest composition in the Gombe National Park, Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology, 17, 131–158.Google Scholar
  6. de Vries, H. (1995). An improved test of linearity in dominance hierarchies containing unknown or tied relationships. Animal Behaviour, 50, 1375–1389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. de Waal, F. B. M. (1982). Chimpanzee politics: Power and sex among apes. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  8. de Waal, F. B. M. (1986). The integration of dominance and social bonding in primates. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 61, 459–479.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. de Waal, F. B. M., & Luttrell, L. M. (1985). The formal hierarchy of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatto): An investigation of bared-teeth display. American Journal of Primatology, 9, 73–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Goodall, J. (1986). The chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Greengrass, E. (2005). Sociability and dominance among female chimpanzees at Gombe. Ph.D. thesis, University of Bristol.Google Scholar
  12. Hasegawa, T. (1990). Sex differences in ranging patterns. In T. Nishida, (Ed.), The chimpanzees of the Mahale mountains (pp. 99–114). Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.Google Scholar
  13. Isbell, L. A., & Pruetz, J. D. (1998). Differences between vervets (Cercopithecus aethiops) and patas monkeys (Eyrthrocebus patas) in agonistic interactions between adult females. International Journal of Primatology, 19, 837–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jameson, K. A., Appleby, M. C., & Freeman, L. C. (1999). Finding an appropriate order for a hierarchy based on probabilistic dominance. Animal Behaviour, 57, 991–998.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kitchen, D. M., Cheney, D. L., & Seyfarth, R. M. (2005). Contextual factor mediating contests between male chacma baboons in Botswana: Effects of food, friends, and females. International Journal of Primatology, 26, 105–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Koyama, N., Ichino, S., Nakamichi, M., & Takahata, Y. (2005). Long-term changes in dominance ranks among ring-tailed lemurs at Berenty Reserve, Madagascar. Primates, 46, 225–234.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Muller, M. N. (2002). Agonistic relations among Kanyawara chimpanzees. In C. Boesch, G. Hohmann, & L. F. Marchant (Eds.), Behavioural diversity in chimpanzees and bonobos (pp. 112–124), Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Murray, C. M. (2006). The Influence of feeding competition on foraging strategies, grouping, and ranging patterns in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). PhD thesis, University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  19. Nishida. T. (1989). Social interactions between resident and immigrant female chimpanzees. In P. G. Heltne & L. A. Marquardt (Eds.), Understanding chimpanzees Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Noldus Information Technology (2003). Matman, version 1.1. The Netherlands: Wageningen.Google Scholar
  21. Parr, L. A., Matheson, M., Bernstein, I. S., & de Waal, F. B. M. (1997). Grooming down the hierarchy: Allogrooming in captive brown capuchin monkeys, Cebus apella. Animal Behaviour, 54, 361–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Perry, S. (1996). Female-female social relationships in wild white-faced capuchin monkeys, Cebus capuchinus. American Journal of Primatology, 40, 167–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pusey, A. E., Williams, J. M., & Goodall, J. (1997). The influence of dominance rank on the reproductive success of female chimpanzees. Science, 277, 828–831.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Seyfarth, R. M. (1977). A model of social grooming among adult female monkeys. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 65, 671–698.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sterck, E. H. M., Watts, D. P., & van Schaik, C. P. (1997). The evolution of female social relationships in nonhuman primates. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 41, 291–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Range, F., & Noë, R. (2002). Familiarity and dominance relations among female sooty mangabeys in the Taï National Park. American Journal of Primatology, 56, 137–153.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. van Hoof, J. A. R. A. M., & Wensing, J. A. B. (1987). Dominance and its behavioral measures in a captive wolf pack. In H. Frank (Ed.), Man and wolf (pp. 219–252). Dordrecht: Dr. Junk Publishers.Google Scholar
  28. Walters, J. R., & Seyfarth, R. M. (1987). Conflict and cooperation. In B. B. Smuts, D. L. Cheney, R. M. Seyfarth, R. W. Wrangham, & T. T. Struhsacker (Eds.), Primate societies (pp. 306–317) Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  29. Watts, D. P. (1994). Agonistic relationships between female mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla berengei). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 34, 347–358.Google Scholar
  30. Wittig, R. M., & Boesch, C. (2003). Food competition and linear dominance hierarchy among female chimpanzees of the Tai National Park. International Journal of Primatology, 24, 847–867.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wrangham, R. W., Clark, A. P., & Isabirye-Basuta, G. (1992). Female social relationships and social organization of Kibale Forest chimpanzees. In T. Nishida, W. C. McGrew, P. Marler, M. Pickford, & F. B. M. de Waal (Eds.), Topics in primatology (pp. 81–98). Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.Google Scholar
  32. Wrangham, R. W., & Smuts, B. B. (1980). Sex differences in behavioural ecology of chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Journal of Reproduction and Fertility, 28, 13–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jane Goodall Institute’s Center for Primate StudiesUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA

Personalised recommendations