The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


Meat transfer among savanna chimpanzees at Fongoli, Senegal: The female perspective

STACY LINDSHIELD2 and JILL D. PRUETZ1.

1Anthropology, Iowa State University, 2Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Iowa State University

Saturday 2:30-2:45, 200ABC Add to calendar

Transferring food to mates or other unrelated social group members is unusual in most animal species but characteristic of humans. Hypotheses to explain food transfer in nonhumans usually involve immediate or delayed benefits for the giver, such as enhanced coalitionary support and mating opportunity. In chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), meat transfer among nonrelatives is common. Meat transfer behavior in Fongoli chimpanzees is similar to patterns seen elsewhere. Additionally, since females at Fongoli hunt frequently, we were able to examine meat transfer from the female perspective. A third of the cases we examined involved female ownership of a prey carcass and in approximately 20% of these events, females had procured the prey. A similar pattern of tolerance emerged as had been seen with plant and tool sharing at Fongoli, which we recently reported. Males rarely monopolized carcasses, unlike the case in many chimpanzee communities, and while females transferred meat to males, they also effectively ignored males’ begging behavior. We suggest such behavior supports the social bonding hypothesis, where individuals’ affiliative behaviors translate into positive social relationships that function as investment in mates and/or coalition partners in this species, largely in the form of male tolerance. We further examine the meat transfer behavior in Fongoli chimpanzees within the context of hominid evolution.

Funding provided by Iowa State University, National Geographic Society, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Leakey Foundation, National Science Foundation, American Society of Primatologists and Primate Conservation Inc.

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