Abstract # 34:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 13, 2014 05:05 PM-05:20 PM: Session 9 (Mary Gay) Symposium


M. Emery Thompson1,2, M. N. Muller1,2, A. V. Georgiev3, Z. P. Machanda2,4 and R. W. Wrangham2,4
1University of New Mexico, MSC01-1040 Anthropology, 500 University Blvd, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA, 2Kibale Chimpanzee Project, 3University of Chicago, 4Harvard University
     The vast majority of information on primate aging arises from captive environments, where individuals experience enhanced energy availability and constrained social environments. Research on wild primates can complement and extend this work by evaluating the relative contributions of psychosocial stress versus energetic stress as mediators of healthy aging in naturalistic environments. To demonstrate this, we draw from the 27-year study of ~60 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in the Kanyawara community of Kibale National Park, Uganda. Our studies demonstrate that reproductive behavior in both sexes produces measurable physiological costs, such as increased cortisol and decreased energy balance (e.g., Emery Thompson et al. 2010, Georgiev 2012, Muller & Wrangham 2004). The costs are largely mediated by group members, who both constrain energy intake and produce stressful behaviors. However, wild chimpanzees have greater flexibility in modifying their social affiliations than their captive counterparts. While the costs of reproduction are expected to compromise long-term health, Kanyawara chimpanzees experience remarkably low mortality during peak reproductive years (Muller & Wrangham 2014). We hypothesize that healthy aging in wild chimpanzees depends on effective management of the energetic costs of reproduction over time, as well as strategic negotiation of the costs and benefits of associations with other group members. Our findings offer insight into selective pressures that have shaped primate life histories and contributed to relationships between social processes and health trajectories.