Predation by female chimpanzees: Toward an understanding of sex differences in meat acquisition in the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo

Ian Gilby, Zarin P. Machanda, Robert C. O'Malley, Carson M. Murray, Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf, Kara Walker, Deus C. Mjungu, Emily Otali, Martin N. Muller, Melissa Emery Thompson, Anne E. Pusey, Richard W. Wrangham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Among modern foraging societies, men hunt more than women, who mostly target relatively low-quality, reliable resources (i.e., plants). This difference has long been assumed to reflect human female reproductive constraints, particularly caring for and provisioning mates and offspring. Long-term studies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) enable tests of hypotheses about the possible origins of human sex differences in hunting, prior to pair-bonding and regular provisioning. We studied two eastern chimpanzee communities (Kasekela, Mitumba) in Gombe, Tanzania and one (Kanyawara) in Kibale, Uganda. Relative to males, females had low hunting rates in all three communities, even where they encountered red colobus monkeys (the primary prey of chimpanzees) as often as males did. There was no evidence that clinging offspring hampered female hunting. Instead, consistent with the hypothesis that females should be more risk-averse than males, females at all three sites specialized in low-cost prey (terrestrial/sedentary prey at Gombe; black and white colobus monkeys at Kanyawara). Female dominance rank was positively correlated with red colobus hunting probability only at Kasekela, suggesting that those in good physical condition were less sensitive to the costs of possible failure. Finally, the potential for carcass appropriation by males deterred females at Kasekela (but not Kanyawara or Mitumba) from hunting in parties containing many adult males. Although chimpanzees are not direct analogs of the last common ancestor (LCA) of Pan and Homo, these results suggest that before the emergence of social obligations regarding sharing and provisioning, constraints on hunting by LCA females did not necessarily stem from maternal care. Instead, they suggest that a risk-averse foraging strategy and the potential for losing prey to males limited female predation on vertebrates. Sex differences in hunting behavior would likely have preceded the evolution of the sexual division of labor among modern humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-94
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume110
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Fingerprint

Pan (Pongidae)
Homo
common ancestry
Pan troglodytes
meat
gender differences
ancestry
predation
hunting
costs
division of labor
Uganda
Tanzania
community
Colobus
obligation
society
resources
evidence
monkeys

Keywords

  • Diet
  • Foraging
  • Hominin
  • Hunting
  • Meat eating
  • Pan troglodytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Predation by female chimpanzees : Toward an understanding of sex differences in meat acquisition in the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo. / Gilby, Ian; Machanda, Zarin P.; O'Malley, Robert C.; Murray, Carson M.; Lonsdorf, Elizabeth V.; Walker, Kara; Mjungu, Deus C.; Otali, Emily; Muller, Martin N.; Emery Thompson, Melissa; Pusey, Anne E.; Wrangham, Richard W.

In: Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 110, 01.09.2017, p. 82-94.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gilby, I, Machanda, ZP, O'Malley, RC, Murray, CM, Lonsdorf, EV, Walker, K, Mjungu, DC, Otali, E, Muller, MN, Emery Thompson, M, Pusey, AE & Wrangham, RW 2017, 'Predation by female chimpanzees: Toward an understanding of sex differences in meat acquisition in the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo', Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 110, pp. 82-94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.06.015
Gilby, Ian ; Machanda, Zarin P. ; O'Malley, Robert C. ; Murray, Carson M. ; Lonsdorf, Elizabeth V. ; Walker, Kara ; Mjungu, Deus C. ; Otali, Emily ; Muller, Martin N. ; Emery Thompson, Melissa ; Pusey, Anne E. ; Wrangham, Richard W. / Predation by female chimpanzees : Toward an understanding of sex differences in meat acquisition in the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo. In: Journal of Human Evolution. 2017 ; Vol. 110. pp. 82-94.
@article{591651ddcaf34eba964227972e626979,
title = "Predation by female chimpanzees: Toward an understanding of sex differences in meat acquisition in the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo",
abstract = "Among modern foraging societies, men hunt more than women, who mostly target relatively low-quality, reliable resources (i.e., plants). This difference has long been assumed to reflect human female reproductive constraints, particularly caring for and provisioning mates and offspring. Long-term studies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) enable tests of hypotheses about the possible origins of human sex differences in hunting, prior to pair-bonding and regular provisioning. We studied two eastern chimpanzee communities (Kasekela, Mitumba) in Gombe, Tanzania and one (Kanyawara) in Kibale, Uganda. Relative to males, females had low hunting rates in all three communities, even where they encountered red colobus monkeys (the primary prey of chimpanzees) as often as males did. There was no evidence that clinging offspring hampered female hunting. Instead, consistent with the hypothesis that females should be more risk-averse than males, females at all three sites specialized in low-cost prey (terrestrial/sedentary prey at Gombe; black and white colobus monkeys at Kanyawara). Female dominance rank was positively correlated with red colobus hunting probability only at Kasekela, suggesting that those in good physical condition were less sensitive to the costs of possible failure. Finally, the potential for carcass appropriation by males deterred females at Kasekela (but not Kanyawara or Mitumba) from hunting in parties containing many adult males. Although chimpanzees are not direct analogs of the last common ancestor (LCA) of Pan and Homo, these results suggest that before the emergence of social obligations regarding sharing and provisioning, constraints on hunting by LCA females did not necessarily stem from maternal care. Instead, they suggest that a risk-averse foraging strategy and the potential for losing prey to males limited female predation on vertebrates. Sex differences in hunting behavior would likely have preceded the evolution of the sexual division of labor among modern humans.",
keywords = "Diet, Foraging, Hominin, Hunting, Meat eating, Pan troglodytes",
author = "Ian Gilby and Machanda, {Zarin P.} and O'Malley, {Robert C.} and Murray, {Carson M.} and Lonsdorf, {Elizabeth V.} and Kara Walker and Mjungu, {Deus C.} and Emily Otali and Muller, {Martin N.} and {Emery Thompson}, Melissa and Pusey, {Anne E.} and Wrangham, {Richard W.}",
year = "2017",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.06.015",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "110",
pages = "82--94",
journal = "Journal of Human Evolution",
issn = "0047-2484",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Predation by female chimpanzees

T2 - Toward an understanding of sex differences in meat acquisition in the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo

AU - Gilby, Ian

AU - Machanda, Zarin P.

AU - O'Malley, Robert C.

AU - Murray, Carson M.

AU - Lonsdorf, Elizabeth V.

AU - Walker, Kara

AU - Mjungu, Deus C.

AU - Otali, Emily

AU - Muller, Martin N.

AU - Emery Thompson, Melissa

AU - Pusey, Anne E.

AU - Wrangham, Richard W.

PY - 2017/9/1

Y1 - 2017/9/1

N2 - Among modern foraging societies, men hunt more than women, who mostly target relatively low-quality, reliable resources (i.e., plants). This difference has long been assumed to reflect human female reproductive constraints, particularly caring for and provisioning mates and offspring. Long-term studies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) enable tests of hypotheses about the possible origins of human sex differences in hunting, prior to pair-bonding and regular provisioning. We studied two eastern chimpanzee communities (Kasekela, Mitumba) in Gombe, Tanzania and one (Kanyawara) in Kibale, Uganda. Relative to males, females had low hunting rates in all three communities, even where they encountered red colobus monkeys (the primary prey of chimpanzees) as often as males did. There was no evidence that clinging offspring hampered female hunting. Instead, consistent with the hypothesis that females should be more risk-averse than males, females at all three sites specialized in low-cost prey (terrestrial/sedentary prey at Gombe; black and white colobus monkeys at Kanyawara). Female dominance rank was positively correlated with red colobus hunting probability only at Kasekela, suggesting that those in good physical condition were less sensitive to the costs of possible failure. Finally, the potential for carcass appropriation by males deterred females at Kasekela (but not Kanyawara or Mitumba) from hunting in parties containing many adult males. Although chimpanzees are not direct analogs of the last common ancestor (LCA) of Pan and Homo, these results suggest that before the emergence of social obligations regarding sharing and provisioning, constraints on hunting by LCA females did not necessarily stem from maternal care. Instead, they suggest that a risk-averse foraging strategy and the potential for losing prey to males limited female predation on vertebrates. Sex differences in hunting behavior would likely have preceded the evolution of the sexual division of labor among modern humans.

AB - Among modern foraging societies, men hunt more than women, who mostly target relatively low-quality, reliable resources (i.e., plants). This difference has long been assumed to reflect human female reproductive constraints, particularly caring for and provisioning mates and offspring. Long-term studies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) enable tests of hypotheses about the possible origins of human sex differences in hunting, prior to pair-bonding and regular provisioning. We studied two eastern chimpanzee communities (Kasekela, Mitumba) in Gombe, Tanzania and one (Kanyawara) in Kibale, Uganda. Relative to males, females had low hunting rates in all three communities, even where they encountered red colobus monkeys (the primary prey of chimpanzees) as often as males did. There was no evidence that clinging offspring hampered female hunting. Instead, consistent with the hypothesis that females should be more risk-averse than males, females at all three sites specialized in low-cost prey (terrestrial/sedentary prey at Gombe; black and white colobus monkeys at Kanyawara). Female dominance rank was positively correlated with red colobus hunting probability only at Kasekela, suggesting that those in good physical condition were less sensitive to the costs of possible failure. Finally, the potential for carcass appropriation by males deterred females at Kasekela (but not Kanyawara or Mitumba) from hunting in parties containing many adult males. Although chimpanzees are not direct analogs of the last common ancestor (LCA) of Pan and Homo, these results suggest that before the emergence of social obligations regarding sharing and provisioning, constraints on hunting by LCA females did not necessarily stem from maternal care. Instead, they suggest that a risk-averse foraging strategy and the potential for losing prey to males limited female predation on vertebrates. Sex differences in hunting behavior would likely have preceded the evolution of the sexual division of labor among modern humans.

KW - Diet

KW - Foraging

KW - Hominin

KW - Hunting

KW - Meat eating

KW - Pan troglodytes

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85027435791&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85027435791&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.06.015

DO - 10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.06.015

M3 - Article

C2 - 28778463

AN - SCOPUS:85027435791

VL - 110

SP - 82

EP - 94

JO - Journal of Human Evolution

JF - Journal of Human Evolution

SN - 0047-2484

ER -