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Gestural Communication and Mating Tactics in Wild Chimpanzees

Roberts, AI and Roberts, SGB (2015) Gestural Communication and Mating Tactics in Wild Chimpanzees. PLoS One, 10 (11). ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

The extent to which primates can flexibly adjust the production of gestural communication according to the presence and visual attention of the audience provides key insights into the social cognition underpinning gestural communication, such as an understanding of third party relationships. Gestures given in a mating context provide an ideal area for examining this flexibility, as frequently the interests of a male signaller, a female recipient and a rival male bystander conflict. Dominant chimpanzee males seek to monopolize matings, but subordinate males may use gestural communication flexibly to achieve matings despite their low rank. Here we show that the production of mating gestures in wild male East African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweunfurthii) was influenced by a conflict of interest with females, which in turn was influenced by the presence and visual attention of rival males.
When the conflict of interest was low (the rival male was present and looking away), chimpanzees used visual/ tactile gestures over auditory gestures. However, when the conflict of interest was high (the rival male was absent, or was present and looking at the signaller) chimpanzees used auditory gestures over visual/ tactile gestures. Further, the production of mating gestures was more common when the number of oestrous and non-oestrus females in the party increased, when the female was visually perceptive and when there was no wind. Females played an active role in mating behaviour, approaching for copulations more often when the number of oestrus females in the party increased and when the rival male was absent, or was present and looking away. Examining how social and ecological factors affect mating tactics in primates may thus contribute to understanding the previously unexplained reproductive success of subordinate male chimpanzees.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Citation: Roberts AI, Roberts SGB (2015) Gestural Communication and Mating Tactics in Wild Chimpanzees. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0139683. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0139683
Uncontrolled Keywords: MD Multidisciplinary
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2017 12:14
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2017 12:14
DOI or Identification number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139683
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7522

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