Abstract # 1172 Event # 368:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 29, 2006 10:00 AM-01:00 PM: Session 45 (Kama A) Symposium


Symposium: Female Competition in Great Apes

A. Pusey and C. Murray
Jane Goodall Institute's Center for Primate Studies, University of Minnesota, 1987 Upper Buford Circle, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA
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     In socioecological models of primate social structure the nature of competition between females is regarded as a central factor in explaining spacing and grouping patterns of females, the existence and form of female dominance hierarchies, and patterns of dispersal by each sex. Early explanations of great ape social structure suggested that female chimpanzees and orangutans, because of their reliance on ripe fruit, avoid contest competition by foraging alone in overlapping core areas. Dominance interactions were believed to be rare and unimportant. In contrast, it was suggested that because of the greater abundance and more uniform distribution of their food female gorillas are able to forage together but suffer little feeding competition and demonstrate only weak dominance relations. More recent studies have revealed the presence of stable dominance relationships and other indications of female competition in chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas in the wild and/or captivity, but also considerable variability between sites in the apparent strength of female competition. This symposium will bring together researchers studying great apes at different sites to explore the nature, causes and consequences of female competition.