Limited evidence for third-party affiliation during development in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii).
ABSTRACT: Examining the ontogeny of conflict-mitigating behaviours in our closest living relatives is an important component of understanding the evolutionary origins of cooperation in our species. In this study, we used 26 years of data to investigate the emergence of third-party affiliation (TPA), defined as affiliative contact given to recipients of aggression by uninvolved bystanders (regardless of initiation), in wild immature eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of Gombe National Park, Tanzania. We also characterized TPA by mothers in the same dataset as an adult benchmark for interpreting immature TPA patterns. In summary, we found that immatures did not express TPA as measured by grooming between the ages of 1.5 and 12.0 years, and that there was limited evidence that immatures expressed TPA via play. We also found that mothers did express TPA to offspring, although mothers did not show TPA towards non-offspring. Cases of TPA by mothers to other adults were too few to analyse separately. These results contrast with findings from captive studies which found that chimpanzees as young as 6 years of age demonstrated TPA. We argue that within-species variation in the expression of TPA, both in immatures and adulthood, provides evidence that the conflict management behaviours of young chimpanzees may be heavily influenced by social, ecological and demographic factors.
Project description:Sex differences in immatures predict behavioural differences in adulthood in many mammal species. Because most studies have focused on sex differences in social interactions, little is known about possible sex differences in 'preparation' for adult life with regards to tool use skills. We investigated sex and age differences in object manipulation in immature apes. Chimpanzees use a variety of tools across numerous contexts, whereas bonobos use few tools and none in foraging. In both species, a female bias in adult tool use has been reported. We studied object manipulation in immature chimpanzees at Kalinzu (Uganda) and bonobos at Wamba (Democratic Republic of Congo). We tested predictions of the 'preparation for tool use' hypothesis. We confirmed that chimpanzees showed higher rates and more diverse types of object manipulation than bonobos. Against expectation, male chimpanzees showed higher object manipulation rates than females, whereas in bonobos no sex difference was found. However, object manipulation by male chimpanzees was play-dominated, whereas manipulation types of female chimpanzees were more diverse (e.g., bite, break, carry). Manipulation by young immatures of both species was similarly dominated by play, but only in chimpanzees did it become more diverse with age. Moreover, in chimpanzees, object types became more tool-like (i.e., sticks) with age, further suggesting preparation for tool use in adulthood. The male bias in object manipulation in immature chimpanzees, along with the late onset of tool-like object manipulation, indicates that not all (early) object manipulation (i.e., object play) in immatures prepares for subsistence tool use. Instead, given the similarity with gender differences in human children, object play may also function in motor skill practice for male-specific behaviours (e.g., dominance displays). In conclusion, even though immature behaviours almost certainly reflect preparation for adult roles, more detailed future work is needed to disentangle possible functions of object manipulation during development.
Project description:In long-lived social mammals such as primates, individuals can benefit from social bonds with close kin, including their mothers. In the patrilocal chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes spp.) and bonobo (Pan paniscus), sexually mature males reside and reproduce in their natal groups and can retain post-dependency bonds with their mothers, while immatures of both sexes might also have their paternal grandmothers available. However, quantitative information on the proportion of males and immatures that co-reside with both types of these close female relatives is limited for both species. Combining genetic parentage determination and group composition data from five communities of wild chimpanzees and three communities of wild bonobos, we estimated the frequency of co-residence between (1) mature males and their mothers, and (2) immature males and females and their paternal grandmothers. We found that adult males resided twice as frequently with their mothers in bonobos than in chimpanzees, and that immature bonobos were three times more likely to possess a living paternal grandmother than were immature chimpanzees. Patterns of female and male survivorship from studbook records of captive individuals of both species suggest that mature bonobo females survive longer than their chimpanzee counterparts, possibly contributing to the differences observed in mother-son and grandmother-immature co-residency levels. Taking into account reports of bonobo mothers supporting their sons' mating efforts and females sharing food with immatures other than their own offspring, our findings suggest that life history traits may facilitate maternal and grandmaternal support more in bonobos than in chimpanzees.
Project description:For many long-lived mammalian species, extended maternal investment has a profound effect on offspring integration in complex social environments. One component of this investment may be aiding young in aggressive interactions, which can set the stage for offspring social position later in life. Here we examined maternal effects on dyadic aggressive interactions between immature (<12 years) chimpanzees. Specifically, we tested whether relative maternal rank predicted the probability of winning an aggressive interaction. We also examined maternal responses to aggressive interactions to determine whether maternal interventions explain interaction outcomes. Using a 12-year behavioural data set (2000-2011) from Gombe National Park, Tanzania, we found that relative maternal rank predicted the probability of winning aggressive interactions in male-male and male-female aggressive interactions: offspring were more likely to win if their mother outranked their opponent's mother. Female-female aggressive interactions occurred infrequently (two interactions), so could not be analysed. The probability of winning was also higher for relatively older individuals in male-male interactions, and for males in male-female interactions. Maternal interventions were rare (7.3% of 137 interactions), suggesting that direct involvement does not explain the outcome for the vast majority of aggressive interactions. These findings provide important insight into the ontogeny of aggressive behaviour and early dominance relationships in wild apes and highlight a potential social advantage for offspring of higher-ranking mothers. This advantage may be particularly pronounced for sons, given male philopatry in chimpanzees and the potential for social status early in life to translate more directly to adult rank.
Project description:The propensity for a grizzly bear to develop conflict behaviours might be a result of social learning between mothers and cubs, genetic inheritance, or both learning and inheritance. Using non-invasive genetic sampling, we collected grizzly bear hair samples during 2011-2014 across southwestern Alberta, Canada. We targeted private agricultural lands for hair samples at grizzly bear incident sites, defining an incident as an occurrence in which the grizzly bear caused property damage, obtained anthropogenic food, or killed or attempted to kill livestock or pets. We genotyped 213 unique grizzly bears (118 M, 95 F) at 24 microsatellite loci, plus the amelogenin marker for sex. We used the program COLONY to assign parentage. We evaluated 76 mother-offspring relationships and 119 father-offspring relationships. We compared the frequency of problem and non-problem offspring from problem and non-problem parents, excluding dependent offspring from our analysis. Our results support the social learning hypothesis, but not the genetic inheritance hypothesis. Offspring of problem mothers are more likely to be involved in conflict behaviours, while offspring from non-problem mothers are not likely to be involved in incidents or human-bear conflicts themselves (Barnard's test, p = 0.05, 62.5% of offspring from problem mothers were problem bears). There was no evidence that offspring are more likely to be involved in conflict behaviour if their fathers had been problem bears (Barnard's test, p = 0.92, 29.6% of offspring from problem fathers were problem bears). For the mother-offspring relationships evaluated, 30.3% of offspring were identified as problem bears independent of their mother's conflict status. Similarly, 28.6% of offspring were identified as problem bears independent of their father's conflict status. Proactive mitigation to prevent female bears from becoming problem individuals likely will help prevent the perpetuation of conflicts through social learning.
Project description:Parent-offspring conflict is predicted to occur because offspring will demand more parental investment than is optimal for the parent, and is said to be strongest during weaning when parents reduce nursing while offspring continue to demand parental care. While weaning conflict has been shown to be stressful in offspring, little is known about the effects of weaning conflict on mothers. We hypothesized that during weaning mothers have higher levels of stress hormone (corticosterone) compared to early lactation because of increased offspring demand. Further, we predicted that if mothers are given the option to avoid offspring solicitation they would do so and show lower corticosterone levels. We tested our hypotheses in an experimental population of rats in which one group of females was given the opportunity to avoid offspring solicitation. We measured faecal corticosterone metabolite levels using a non-invasive approach, and maternal and offspring behaviours during weaning. In contrast to our predictions, we detected lower levels of corticosterone metabolites during weaning than before, irrespective of cage type. Further, during weaning mothers did not show increased offspring avoidance behaviour although offspring solicitation increased significantly. Our results therefore cast doubt on the generally accepted notion of weaning conflict as a stressful period for mothers characterized by overt offspring solicitation.
Project description:Background:In animals with altricial offspring, most growth occurs after birth and may be optimized by post-natal maternal care. Maternal effects on growth may be influenced by individual characteristics of the mothers, such as social status, individual investment strategies and the length of association with offspring. The prolonged juvenile dependence seen in humans is a distinctive life history adaptation, which may have evolved to facilitate sustained somatic and brain growth.In chimpanzees, offspring are typically weaned at approximately 4?years old, yet immature individuals continue to associate with their mothers for up to 10?years beyond weaning. Whether this lengthy association or the individual characteristics of mothers influences growth patterns in this species is not clear.The relationship between urinary creatinine and specific gravity is an established non-invasive measure of muscle mass in humans and chimpanzees. We analysed the urinary creatinine and specific gravity of 1318 urine samples from 70 wild chimpanzees from the Taï Forest, Ivory Coast aged 4 to 15?years. Results:We showed a clear increase in urinary creatinine levels with age in both males and females, replicating established growth curves in this species and reaffirming this measure as a reliable proxy for lean body mass. Comparing those who experience maternal loss (orphans) with non-orphan chimpanzees, maternal presence beyond weaning age and into late juvenility positively influenced offspring muscle mass throughout ontogeny such that orphans had significantly less muscle mass than age-matched non-orphans. In age-matched offspring with mothers, those with high-ranking mothers had greater muscle mass. Accounting for variation in muscle mass attributable to maternal presence, we found no effect of maternal investment (length of inter birth interval, from own birth to birth of following sibling) on offspring muscle mass. Conclusion:Chimpanzee mothers have an extended and multi-faceted influence on offspring phenotypes. Our results suggest that maternal investment extends beyond lactation and into early adulthood and has clear benefits to offspring physical development. Therefore, prolonged juvenile dependence, although unique in its form in human societies, may be a trait with deeper evolutionary origins.
Project description:Simian immunodeficiency virus of chimpanzees (SIVcpz) is the immediate precursor to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), yet remarkably, the distribution and prevalence of SIVcpz in wild ape populations are unknown. Studies of SIVcpz infection rates in wild chimpanzees are complicated by the species' endangered status and by its geographic location in remote areas of sub-Saharan Africa. We have developed sensitive and specific urine and fecal tests for SIVcpz antibody and virion RNA (vRNA) detection and describe herein the first comprehensive prevalence study of SIVcpz infection in five wild Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii communities in east Africa. In Kibale National Park in Uganda, 31 (of 52) members of the Kanyawara community and 39 (of approximately 145) members of the Ngogo community were studied; none were found to be positive for SIVcpz infection. In Gombe National Park in Tanzania, 15 (of 20) members of the Mitumba community, 51 (of 55) members of the Kasekela community, and at least 10 (of approximately 20) members of the Kalande community were studied. Seven individuals were SIVcpz antibody and/or vRNA positive, and two others had indeterminate antibody results. Based on assay sensitivities and the numbers and types of specimens analyzed, we estimated the prevalence of SIVcpz infection to be 17% in Mitumba (95% confidence interval, 10 to 40%), 5% in Kasekela (95% confidence interval, 4 to 7%), and 30% in Kalande (95% confidence interval, 15 to 60%). For Gombe as a whole, the SIVcpz prevalence was estimated to be 13% (95% confidence interval, 7 to 25%). SIVcpz infection was confirmed in five chimpanzees by PCR amplification of partial pol and gp41/nef sequences which revealed a diverse group of viruses that formed a monophyletic lineage within the SIVcpzPts radiation. Although none of the 70 Kibale chimpanzees tested SIVcpz positive, we estimated the likelihood that a 10% or higher prevalence existed but went undetected because of sampling and assay limitations; this possibility was ruled out with 95% certainty. These results indicate that SIVcpz is unevenly distributed among P. t. schweinfurthii in east Africa, with foci or "hot spots" of SIVcpz endemicity in some communities and rare or absent infection in others. This situation contrasts with that for smaller monkey species, in which infection rates by related SIVs are generally much higher and more uniform among different groups and populations. The basis for the wide variability in SIVcpz infection rates in east African apes and the important question of SIVcpz prevalence in west central African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) remain to be elucidated.
Project description:Studies of chimpanzee vocal communication provide valuable insights into the evolution of communication in complex societies, and also comparative data for understanding the evolution of human language. One particularly valuable dataset of recordings from free-living chimpanzees was collected by Frans X. Plooij and the late Hetty van de Rijt-Plooij at Gombe National Park, Tanzania (1971-73). These audio specimens, which have not yet been analysed, total over 10 h on 28 tapes, including 7 tapes focusing on adult individuals with a total of 605 recordings. In 2014 the first part of that collection of audio specimens covering the vocalizations of the immature Gombe chimpanzees was made available. The data package described here covers the vocalizations of the adult chimpanzees. We expect these recordings will prove useful for studies on topics including referential signalling and the emergence of dialects. The digitized sound recordings were stored in the Macaulay Library and the Dryad Repository. In addition, the original notes on the contexts of the calls were translated and transcribed from Dutch into English.
Project description:Humans are unusual among animals for continuing to provision and care for their offspring until adulthood. This "prolonged dependency" is considered key for the evolution of other notable human traits, such as large brains, complex societies, and extended postreproductive lifespans. Prolonged dependency must therefore have evolved under conditions in which reproductive success is gained with parental investment and diminished with early parental loss. We tested this idea using data from wild chimpanzees, which have similarly extended immature years as humans and prolonged mother-offspring associations. Males who lost their mothers after weaning but before maturity began reproducing later and had lower average reproductive success. Thus, persistent mother-immature son associations seem vital for enhancing male reproductive success, although mothers barely provision sons after weaning. We posit that these associations lead to social gains, crucial for successful reproduction in complex social societies, and offer insights into the evolution of prolonged dependency.
Project description:Inbreeding adversely affects fitness, whereas heterozygosity often augments it. Therefore, mechanisms to avoid inbreeding and increase genetic distance between mates should be advantageous in species where adult relatives reside together. Here we investigate mate choice for genetic dissimilarity in chimpanzees, a species in which many females avoid inbreeding through dispersal, but where promiscuous mating and sexual coercion can limit choice when related adults reside together. We take advantage of incomplete female dispersal in Gombe National Park, Tanzania to compare mate choice for genetic dissimilarity among immigrant and natal females in two communities using pairwise relatedness measures in 135 genotyped chimpanzees. As expected, natal females were more related to adult males in their community than were immigrant females. However, among 62 breeding events, natal females were not more related to the sires of their offspring than immigrant females, despite four instances of close inbreeding. Moreover, females were generally less related to the sires of their offspring than to non-sires. These results demonstrate that chimpanzees may be capable of detecting relatedness and selecting mates on the basis of genetic distance.