Ecologist - Writer - Photographer

Group dynamics in chimpanzees

Group dynamics in chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are large social primates that live in fission-fusion clan societies. Adults weigh 30-70kg. Within a clan, individuals move between subgroups of differing size and composition. This research was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Emily Otali of Makerere University Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Kibale Chimpanzee Project (Harvard University, USA). We are interested in what factors determine why an individual joins, leaves or stays with a particular subgroup, and in particular how mothers with young behave to benefit their young. Data collection involved tracking chimpanzees in the field, and analysing movements of individuals between subgroups. Data was collected in Kibale National Park, Uganda. The results of this study are published in:

Otali, E. & Gilchrist, J.S. 2006. Why chimpanzee mothers are less gregarious than males: the infant-safety hypothesis. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 59, 561-570.

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Chimpanzee, Kibale Forest, Uganda