Study: Female Chimps Are Doin’ It For Themselves

posted: 05/22/15
by: Danny Clemens
Three chimps grooming each other.
Getty Images

Female chimpanzees set out to create strong female relationships, according to a new study from Duke University. While male chimps form tight-knit social groups that last their entire lives, females have a habit of leaving their families behind and forging new social relationships with other females.

Duke researchers examined almost four decades' worth of daily records for 53 adult female chimpanzees living in Tanzania's Gombe National Park. They observed more than 600 different pairings of female friends, and noted that the tightest bonds were formed between mothers and daughters.

Researchers also observed strong bonds between low-ranking females, although it was unclear whether they were true comrades or simply friends of convenience.

"It doesn't necessarily mean that they like each other," added study co-author Steffen Foerster. "The lowest-ranking females are the newest to arrive. When a female migrates into a new group, she starts at the bottom of the social ladder. It may be that they're not really that into each other, but that they need to tolerate being in the same space," he said.

Click here for more from Duke University

Learn more about chimps:

show more details
Clever Chimp Uses Tools

About the blog:
DSCOVRD: The best of the web, covering space, technology, wildlife and more!
More on