The ability of male chimpanzees to form coalitions with one another in order to direct aggression at other male chimpanzees has certain benefits. A new study by Ian Gilby at Duke University in North Carolina and his colleagues has further revealed that it may not just be the coalition that is important, but who the coalition is with that determines future success. Their study finds that male chimpanzees with central positions in the coalitionary network were most likely to father offspring and increase in rank. Specifically, those who formed coalitions with males who did not form coalitions with each other were the most successful. Their work is published in the Springer journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.
Coalitionary aggression is when at least two individuals jointly direct aggression at one or more targets. Aggression and coalition formation between males is important for attaining a higher dominance in many animal species. The most dominant males are more likely to mate and therefore, sire offspring. Males with high coalition rates are more likely to mate more often than expected for their rank.
Gilby and his colleagues studied data from wild chimpanzees gathered over 14 years from the Kasekela community in Gombe National Park in Tanzania. They wanted to test the hypothesis that male coalitionary aggression leads to positive benefits via increased dominance rank and improved reproductive success. Of the four measures they used to characterize a male's coalitionary behavior, the only one that was related to both of these factors was 'betweenness' – a measure of social network centrality – which reflects the tendency to make coalitions with other males who did not form coalitions with each other. The only non-alpha males to sire offspring were males that had the highest 'betweenness' scores. These males were also more likely to increase in rank, which is associated with higher reproductive success.
The researchers postulate that this shows that male chimpanzees may recognize the value of making the 'right' social connections. By choosing their coalition partners carefully, they are demonstrating an ability to recognize the relationships of others.
The authors conclude that "…our data suggest that there are consequences to the recognition of third party relationships. As such, it represents an important step toward a more complete understanding of the adaptive value of social intelligence and the evolution of co-operation." They add that further observation is required to fully explain the study's findings.
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Rising temperatures and a more acidic ocean may spell trouble for the Chesapeake Bay's iconic crabs, oysters and fish
Huge specimen caught in Antarctic waters by New Zealand fishing crew is one of few ever examined
Lonesome George, the worlds most famous tortoise, goes on display at the American Museum of Natural History.
Oxytricha trifallax lives in ponds all over the world. Under an electron microscope it looks like a football adorned with tassels. The tiny fringes are the cilia it uses to move around and gobble up algae. What makes Oxytricha unusual, however, is the crazy things it does with its DNA.
A Japanese woman with macular degeneration is the first person to be treated with induced pluripotent stem cells, made from her own skin
A DNA sequencer the size of a cell phone could change where, and how, gene research occurs.One day in 1989, biophysicist David Deamer pulled his car off California’s Interstate 5 to hurriedly scribble down an idea. In a mental flash, he had pictured a strand of DNA threading its way through a microscopic pore. Grabbing a pen and a yellow pad, he sketched out a radical new way to study the molecule of life.
New research led by the University of Leicester in the U.K. gives a blow-by-blow account of the injuries inflicted on King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field on Aug 22, 1485. Modern forensic analysis of the King’s skeletal remains reveals that three of his injuries had the potential to cause death quickly.
Look into the jaws of a Mosasaurus and you will gaze into a nightmare.
Although it's far from the sort of brain transplant beloved by science fiction enthusiasts, scientists have taken one step in that direction: they have spliced a key human brain gene into mice.
A network in the brain that helps control daydreaming seem to be slower to develop in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.