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What Chimpanzee Mothers Have More Sociable Infants?

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In a captive group of 29 chimpanzees, eight mothers with their infants were studied. Data are presented on the associations between (1) individual characteristics of the mother and measures of her social position in the group, (2) mother-infant behaviour and (3) infant sociability. Possible effects of the age of the infants were eliminated throughout the analysis by means of a partial correlation test. Results show that mothers with more offspring spent more time in social positive interactions with their older offspring and were more rejecting to their youngest infant. Mothers that received less aggression broke contact with their infants relatively more often. Infants of such mothers spent more time in social play with others and were less time in contact with their mother. Counter intuitively, we also found that more sociable mothers had infants that spent less time in social play. It is suggested that the correlation between sociability of mother and infant depends on the group size and/or the amount of social crowding.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Comparative Physiology, University of Utrecht, Padualaan 14, Postbox 80.086, 3508 TB Utrecht, and Burgers' Dierenpark, Arnhem, The Netherlands


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