Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Male Chimpanzees Prefer Mating With Old Females

Date:
November 21, 2006
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Researchers studying chimpanzee mating preferences have found that although male chimpanzees prefer some females over others, they prefer older, not younger, females as mates. The findings uncover a stark contrast between chimpanzee behavior and that of humans, their primate cousins.

Imoso, the highest-ranking male in the Kanyawara community of Kibale National Park, Uganda, grooms Outamba, a middle-aged female. Male chimpanzees at Kanyawara consistently prefer the oldest females in their community as mating partners, suggesting that the preference that human men exhibit for youthful women is a recent evolutionary phenomenon. For more information, see the Report by Muller et al. in the November 21 Current Biology.
Credit: Photograph by Jean-Michel Krief

Researchers studying chimpanzee mating preferences have found that although male chimpanzees prefer some females over others, they prefer older, not younger, females as mates.

The findings uncover a stark contrast between chimpanzee behavior and that of humans, their primate cousins. The basis for this difference may lie in the fact that whereas chimpanzees participate in a relatively promiscuous mating system, humans form unusually long-term mating bonds, thereby making young females more valuable as mates with greater reproductive potential. The findings, reported by Martin Muller of Boston University and colleagues at Harvard University, appear in the November 21st issue of Current Biology.

Theoretical explanations for the preference of human males for young females as mates include the facts that humans tend to form long-term mating partnerships, and that female fertility is limited by menopause and, therefore, age. The converse of such an explanation suggests that species that appear to lack long-term pair bonding and menopause (such as chimpanzees) should not exhibit such strong preferences by males for young females.

In the new work, researchers examined this idea by studying male mate preferences within the Kanyawara chimpanzee community in Kibale National Park in Uganda. The researchers found that, in contrast to humans, male chimpanzees prefer older females to younger ones. They found that, compared to younger females, older females were more likely to be approached for copulation, were more often in association with males during estrous periods, copulated more frequently with high-ranking males, and gave rise to higher rates of male-on-male aggression in mating contests.

The findings, in addition to supporting the idea that long-term pair bonding and menopause may contribute to the preference of human males for young females, also suggest that this characteristic may be an evolutionarily derived trait that arose in the human lineage sometime after the lineages giving rise to humans and chimpanzees diverged.

The researchers include Martin N. Muller of Boston University in Boston, MA; Melissa Emery Thompson and Richard W. Wrangham of Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. The research at Kibale was supported by grants from the United States National Science Foundation (grant no. 0416125), the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

Muller et al.: "Male Chimpanzees Prefer Mating with Old Females." Publishing in Current Biology 16, 2234--2238, November 21, 2006 DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2006.09.042. http://www.current-biology.com


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Male Chimpanzees Prefer Mating With Old Females." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061120130545.htm>.
Cell Press. (2006, November 21). Male Chimpanzees Prefer Mating With Old Females. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061120130545.htm
Cell Press. "Male Chimpanzees Prefer Mating With Old Females." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061120130545.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins