Tuesday, February 3, 2009
If you're a fan of nature documentaries you have surely watched now and then the real adventures of our chimp cousins at the Gomba reservation. In that case, the names and even personality of these chimpanzees will be very familiar, as thanks to modern media you have become for a brief but intensive time a guest in their home.
But the researchers were not just filming documentaries, they were researching chimpanzee sociology and, by extension, also ours.
They have found that alpha males among chimps are not always the largest more brutish guys. Sometimes they are: Frodo a very large male, weighting 51 kg, never ever groomed others and yet he was the alpha male for some time. In contrast, Wilkie, weighting only 37 kg. (under male chimp average) became the alpha male with a most diplomatic strategy, grooming others almost compulsively. Freud, an intermediate guy weighting 44 kg (above average) used both strategies, grooming at times and imposing himself by force in other occasions.
Source: Science Daily, based on materials of the University of Minnesota.