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The Choice of Post-conflict Interactions in Wild Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

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Some costs of conflicts remain after an aggressive interaction has been terminated. Postconflict management in social living animals can reduce those costs by means of a variety of interactions implemented after aggression (e.g. reconciliation, consolation, redirected aggression). Each post-conflict interaction (PCI) provides different advantages and disadvantages, although the functions may sometimes overlap. Individuals can therefore choose a PCI to achieve the most favourable outcome within a given conflict situation. We examined 876 dyadic aggressive interactions among 18 wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) of both sexes in the Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire. We investigated which conflict-condition led to which type of PCI and related the choice of PCI to its advantages and disadvantages. Taï chimpanzees used reconciliation to resolve conflicts among high value partners and when approaching the former opponent was unlikely to entail further aggression. Consolation seemed to substitute for reconciliation, when were opponents low value partners or approaching the former opponent was too risky, such as when further aggression was likely. Taï chimpanzees renewed aggression after undecided conflicts and when losers were unexpected. They used redirected aggression after long conflicts, possibly because friendly PCIs were likely to fail. However, Taï chimpanzees continued with business as usual when conflicts were very short, and they avoided further interactions when the accessibility of the resource was unlimited. Taï chimpanzees appeared to follow a clear-cut evaluation process as they seemed to weigh advantages against disadvantages for the appropriate choice of PCI.


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