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Early maternal loss leads to short- but not long-term effects on diurnal cortisol slopes in wild chimpanzees

Girard-Buttoz, C, Tkaczynski, PJ, Samuni, L, Fedurek, P, Gomes, C, Löhrich, T, Manin, V, Preis, A, Valé, PF, Deschner, T, Wittig, RM and Crockford, C (2021) Early maternal loss leads to short- but not long-term effects on diurnal cortisol slopes in wild chimpanzees. eLife, 10. ISSN 2050-084X

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The biological embedding model (BEM) suggests that fitness costs of maternal loss arise when early-life experience embeds long-term alterations to hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity. Alternatively, the adaptive calibration model (ACM) regards physiological changes during ontogeny as short-term adaptations. Both models have been tested in humans but rarely in wild, long-lived animals. We assessed whether, as in humans, maternal loss had short- and long-term impacts on orphan wild chimpanzee urinary cortisol levels and diurnal urinary cortisol slopes, both indicative of HPA axis functioning. Immature chimpanzees recently orphaned and/or orphaned early in life had diurnal cortisol slopes reflecting heightened activation of the HPA axis. However, these effects appeared short-term, with no consistent differences between orphan and non-orphan cortisol profiles in mature males, suggesting stronger support for the ACM than the BEM in wild chimpanzees. Compensatory mechanisms, such as adoption, may buffer against certain physiological effects of maternal loss in this species.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0601 Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: eLife Sciences Publications Ltd
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2022 09:44
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2022 09:45
DOI or ID number: 10.7554/elife.64134
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16003
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