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Female parity, male aggression, and the Challenge Hypothesis in wild chimpanzees

Female parity, male aggression, and the Challenge Hypothesis in wild chimpanzees The Challenge Hypothesis proposes that testosterone mediates aggression during periods of heightened conflict between males, especially episodes that have important fitness consequences. Considerable evidence from seasonally breeding species provides support for this hypothesis, but few data exist in animals that mate year-round. We tested predictions generated by the Challenge Hypothesis in chimpanzees, a non-seasonally breeding primate, through a study of individuals living in an exceptionally large community at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda. Results indicated that dominance rank had no influence on testosterone levels. Instead of rank influencing testosterone production, additional analyses revealed an important role for reproductive competition. Male chimpanzees displayed more aggression when they were in the same party as parous estrous females than when reproductively active females were unavailable. Male chimpanzees competed more intensely for mating opportunities with parous females than with nulliparas, and as a consequence, males displayed more aggression around the former than the latter. When males accompanied parous estrous females, their urinary testosterone concentrations were significantly higher than baseline concentrations. In contrast, urinary testosterone concentrations did not exceed baseline when males associated with nulliparous estrous females. These differences in testosterone levels could not be attributed to mating per se because males copulated equally often with parous and nulliparous females. Furthermore, variation in testosterone concentrations were not due to males gathering together in large parties, as their levels in these situations did not exceed baseline. Taken together, these findings, derived from a relatively large sample of males and estrous females, replicate those from a prior study and furnish additional support for the Challenge Hypothesis. Our results suggest that the Challenge Hypothesis is likely to be broadly applicable to chimpanzees and increase our understanding of the physiological costs to males who compete for estrous females. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Primates Springer Journals

Female parity, male aggression, and the Challenge Hypothesis in wild chimpanzees

Primates , Volume 54 (1) – Oct 25, 2012

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References (46)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan
Subject
Life Sciences; Zoology; Animal Ecology; Behavioural Sciences; Evolutionary Biology
ISSN
0032-8332
eISSN
1610-7365
DOI
10.1007/s10329-012-0332-4
pmid
23096486
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Challenge Hypothesis proposes that testosterone mediates aggression during periods of heightened conflict between males, especially episodes that have important fitness consequences. Considerable evidence from seasonally breeding species provides support for this hypothesis, but few data exist in animals that mate year-round. We tested predictions generated by the Challenge Hypothesis in chimpanzees, a non-seasonally breeding primate, through a study of individuals living in an exceptionally large community at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda. Results indicated that dominance rank had no influence on testosterone levels. Instead of rank influencing testosterone production, additional analyses revealed an important role for reproductive competition. Male chimpanzees displayed more aggression when they were in the same party as parous estrous females than when reproductively active females were unavailable. Male chimpanzees competed more intensely for mating opportunities with parous females than with nulliparas, and as a consequence, males displayed more aggression around the former than the latter. When males accompanied parous estrous females, their urinary testosterone concentrations were significantly higher than baseline concentrations. In contrast, urinary testosterone concentrations did not exceed baseline when males associated with nulliparous estrous females. These differences in testosterone levels could not be attributed to mating per se because males copulated equally often with parous and nulliparous females. Furthermore, variation in testosterone concentrations were not due to males gathering together in large parties, as their levels in these situations did not exceed baseline. Taken together, these findings, derived from a relatively large sample of males and estrous females, replicate those from a prior study and furnish additional support for the Challenge Hypothesis. Our results suggest that the Challenge Hypothesis is likely to be broadly applicable to chimpanzees and increase our understanding of the physiological costs to males who compete for estrous females.

Journal

PrimatesSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 25, 2012

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