Female chimpanzees know which males are most likely to kill their babies

phys.org | 10/18/2018 | Staff
gbabii05 (Posted by) Level 3
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Research carried out by the University of Kent sheds light on the infanticidal behaviour of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and demonstrates that females are highly sensitive to the relative risks posed to their babies by different males.

Researchers from the Living Primates Research Group in its School of Anthropology and Conservation (SAC), and the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of St Andrews, examined the behaviour of female chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest, Uganda, where chimpanzees (at least in the study community) are particularly prone to committing and suffering infanticide.

Study - Adriana - Lowe - Dr - Newton-Fisher

The study by Adriana Lowe and Dr. Newton-Fisher (SAC) and Dr. Catherine Hobaiter (St Andrews) was carried out during a period in which a mid-ranking male rose rapidly in rank.

Males can benefit from infanticide when they can kill an unrelated infant and replace it with one they have fathered. Because rank is linked to mating access in chimpanzees, a male who rises quickly in rank is surrounded by babies he is unlikely to have fathered, compared to any babies conceived after his rise.

Male - Rank - Threat - Mothers - Babies

This means a male who rises in rank is suddenly a threat to mothers and their babies.

Mothers, specifically those with younger, more vulnerable infants, reduced their association with the rank?rising male during the period of instability. The research team...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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