Abstract # 69:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 05:45 PM-06:00 PM: Session 13 (Meeting Room 408) Oral Presentation


M. R. Heintz1,2, R. M. Santymire1,2, C. M. Murray2 and E. V. Lonsdorf1,2
1University of Chicago, 1025 E. 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637, USA, 2Lincoln Park Zoo

Training for the unexpected theory suggests that through play, individuals put themselves in situations where they lose control and learn to regulate their stress response. This theory has gained support over recent years; but has not been investigated in the wild. To examine the relationship between play and stress, we compared play rates with fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) concentrations, which represent pooled stress hormone concentrations from the previous day, from wild infant (n=9) and juvenile chimpanzees (n=6). Behavioral observations were collected on infants and juveniles over two 6-month field seasons (May-November 2009 and 2010) using instantaneous scan-sampling and all occurrence agnostic interactions (1143 total observation hours) in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Fecal samples were collected (n=312) and analyzed using a cortisol enzyme immunoassay. Analyses from 2009 data demonstrate a positive correlation between play rates and both FGM variance (F 1, 11= 5.05; p<.05) and FGM mean (F 1, 11= 3.78; p=0.07). The majority of play maintained at least one stationary point and energy expenditure is unlikely to influence FGM concentrations. Play rates were higher in infants compared with juveniles; however, there was no sex difference in play. We will also discuss play styles and FGM reactivity; however, initial findings do not support the training for the expected theory for wild infant chimpanzees. Supported by Leakey Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Field Museum African Council, and NSF.