Road crossing in chimpanzees: A risky business
J. Hockings, James R. Anderson, and Tetsuro Matsuzawa
Current Biology, 16, 668-670.
Road-crossing presents a new situation that calls for flexibility of
responses by chimpanzees to variations in perceived risk. The chimpanzees
at Bossou, Guinea, West Africa, employ a phylogenetically-old mechanism to
adapt to a more recent dangerous situation. The positioning of dominant
and bolder individuals, in particular the alpha male, changed depending on
both the degree of risk and number of adult males present; dominant
individuals act cooperatively with a high level of flexibility to maximise
group protection. Differences in progression orders may reflect the
division of roles, and the collaboration among males to protect the
females and their off-spring. This may also help shape hypotheses about
emergence of hominoid adaptive social organization.
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