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Self-Structuring in Artificial "Chimps" Offers New Hypotheses for Male Grouping in Chimpanzees

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Chimpanzees live in societies that are characterised both by disorder and order. On the one hand, party size fluctuates in a randomlike fashion and party membership is unpredictable ; on the other hand, fundamental party structures are apparent; males are often in all-male parties whereas females remain mostly solitary. The customary sociobiological explanation is based on the assumptions that 1) competition for food favors solitariness (especially in females); 2) chimpanzee males share the costs of territorial defense against rivals from neighbouring communities and 3) genetical relatedness among males within a community compensates for fitness losses due to their competition for food and females. We point to some theoretical flaws in the reasoning that forms the basis of the current neo-Darwinistic model and to the lack of empirical data concerning male relatedness. Most importantly, chimpanzee-like party structures emerge by self-organisation in an artificial "world" in which "CHIMPs" do nothing more than searching for food and mates, without requiring any of the assumptions of the sociobiological model.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Comparative Physiology, Section Ethology & Socioecology, University of Utrecht, Padualaan 14, PO Box 80.086, 3508 TB LA Utrecht, the Netherlands; 2: Bioinformatics, University of Utrecht, Padualaan 8, 3584 Utrecht, the Netherlands


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