Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adolescent male chimps in large community strive to be alphas

Date:
September 20, 2012
Source:
Ohio University
Summary:
An anthropologist reports the first observation of dominance relationships among adolescent male chimpanzees, which he attributes to the composition of their community.

Adolescent male chimpanzees may show subordination to more dominant members of the hierarchy.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Sherrow

An Ohio University anthropologist reports the first observation of dominance relationships among adolescent male chimpanzees, which he attributes to the composition of their community. Hogan Sherrow spent eight years studying the Ngogo community of chimpanzees in Kibale National Park in western Uganda. Ngogo is the biggest chimpanzee community on record, with more than 150 members and about twice as many males as found in other chimp communities across Africa.

Unlike their adult male counterparts, which have a well-documented dominance hierarchy, adolescent males have not been known to establish dominance relationships. During four field seasons between 2000 and 2004, however, Sherrow found that some adolescent males pant grunted to other adolescent males on a consistent basis. Research by Jane Goodall established that pant grunts are made by subordinate individuals to dominant ones, Sherrow explained.

"It calms hostilities. It means, 'I know that you're stronger than me, so don't beat me up.' It's like they're sending up the white flag," said Sherrow, an assistant professor of anthropology who published his recent findings in the journal Folia Primatologica.

After ranking the 17 adolescent males in order of dominance, Sherrow concluded that the biggest and oldest animals were at the top of the hierarchy. There were only two exceptions, males that appeared to act in a subordinate manner due to physical injuries.

Sherrow suggests that he observed dominance relationships in the adolescent males of this chimpanzee community due to its size and heightened competition for females. Each male in Ngogo must contend with 35 to 40 others, whereas most communities contain 10 to 15 competitors for mating. Adolescent male chimps also may vie for access to high-ranking adult males as a competitive strategy.

Adult male chimpanzees have clear and defined dominance relationships that depend on size, strength and the ability to form alliances in the community. The most dominant males have priority access to resources and potential mates and usually father more offspring.

"We should not be surprised that adolescent males can form these dominance relationships. Adults males form them, and adolescent males need to learn them at some point," Sherrow said.

Studies of other immature males in primate, mammal and even human communities with intense competition for resources also have found adolescent dominance hierarchies, he added.

Because the Ngogo community is unusually large, Sherrow noted that scientists should seek to observe this behavior in another neighboring community of this size to determine if a similar hierarchy can be documented. The Ngogo study site, located in the Ugandan rain forest, was established in 1995 and has been observed daily by researchers.

The recent study not only offers a new view of chimpanzee behavior, but could shed light on human power and dominance as well, Sherrow suggested.

"Because chimpanzees, along with bonobos, are our closest living relatives, understanding things like how and why they form dominance relationships helps us understand the drive for status and prestige in humans," he said.

The L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, the American Society of Primatologists, the Sigma Xi Foundation, the John F. Enders Foundation and Yale University provided support for the research.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Hogan M. Sherrow. Adolescent Male Chimpanzees at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda, Have Decided Dominance Relationships. Folia Primatologica, 2012; 83 (2): 67 DOI: 10.1159/000341168

Cite This Page:

Ohio University. "Adolescent male chimps in large community strive to be alphas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920095326.htm>.
Ohio University. (2012, September 20). Adolescent male chimps in large community strive to be alphas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920095326.htm
Ohio University. "Adolescent male chimps in large community strive to be alphas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920095326.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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