Sexually coercive male chimpanzees sire more offspring

Joseph T. Feldblum, Emily E. Wroblewski, Rebecca S. Rudicell, Beatrice H. Hahn, Thais Paiva, Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel, Anne E. Pusey, Ian Gilby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In sexually reproducing animals, male and female reproductive strategies often conflict [1]. In some species, males use aggression to overcome female choice [2, 3], but debate persists over the extent to which this strategy is successful. Previous studies of male aggression toward females among wild chimpanzees have yielded contradictory results about the relationship between aggression and mating behavior [4-11]. Critically, however, copulation frequency in primates is not always predictive of reproductive success [12]. We analyzed a 17-year sample of behavioral and genetic data from the Kasekela chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) community in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, to test the hypothesis that male aggression toward females increases male reproductive success. We examined the effect of male aggression toward females during ovarian cycling, including periods when the females were sexually receptive (swollen) and periods when they were not. We found that, after controlling for confounding factors, male aggression during a female's swollen periods was positively correlated with copulation frequency. However, aggression toward swollen females was not predictive of paternity. Instead, aggression by high-ranking males toward females during their nonswollen periods was positively associated with likelihood of paternity. This indicates that long-term patterns of intimidation allow high-ranking males to increase their reproductive success, supporting the sexual coercion hypothesis. To our knowledge, this is the first study to present genetic evidence of sexual coercion as an adaptive strategy in a social mammal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2855-2860
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume24
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

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Mammals
Pan troglodytes
sires
Aggression
Animals
aggression
Coercion
Copulation
Paternity
paternity
copulation
Behavioral Genetics
Primates
Tanzania
mating behavior
national parks
mammals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Feldblum, J. T., Wroblewski, E. E., Rudicell, R. S., Hahn, B. H., Paiva, T., Cetinkaya-Rundel, M., ... Gilby, I. (2014). Sexually coercive male chimpanzees sire more offspring. Current Biology, 24(23), 2855-2860. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.039

Sexually coercive male chimpanzees sire more offspring. / Feldblum, Joseph T.; Wroblewski, Emily E.; Rudicell, Rebecca S.; Hahn, Beatrice H.; Paiva, Thais; Cetinkaya-Rundel, Mine; Pusey, Anne E.; Gilby, Ian.

In: Current Biology, Vol. 24, No. 23, 01.12.2014, p. 2855-2860.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Feldblum, JT, Wroblewski, EE, Rudicell, RS, Hahn, BH, Paiva, T, Cetinkaya-Rundel, M, Pusey, AE & Gilby, I 2014, 'Sexually coercive male chimpanzees sire more offspring', Current Biology, vol. 24, no. 23, pp. 2855-2860. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.039
Feldblum JT, Wroblewski EE, Rudicell RS, Hahn BH, Paiva T, Cetinkaya-Rundel M et al. Sexually coercive male chimpanzees sire more offspring. Current Biology. 2014 Dec 1;24(23):2855-2860. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.039
Feldblum, Joseph T. ; Wroblewski, Emily E. ; Rudicell, Rebecca S. ; Hahn, Beatrice H. ; Paiva, Thais ; Cetinkaya-Rundel, Mine ; Pusey, Anne E. ; Gilby, Ian. / Sexually coercive male chimpanzees sire more offspring. In: Current Biology. 2014 ; Vol. 24, No. 23. pp. 2855-2860.
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