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The Influence of Siblings On Wild Infant Chimpanzee Social Interaction

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The presence or absence of older siblings influenced the social interactions of 17 wild infant chimpanzees between the ages of 6 and 24 months living at the Gombe National Park, Tanzania. The total amount of time spent in social interaction (contact, grooming and play) was similar for infants with and without siblings, as was the overall level of social interaction with the mother. However, subjects with siblings spent more time with their siblings, while subjects with no siblings interacted with other group members. These results indicate a possible set-point for infant chimpanzee social interaction. Developmental changes were also similar in both groups, but the infants with siblings had lower levels of interaction with the mother and higher levels of interaction with other group members during the age period of 12-18 months. The levels of social behaviors were not related to the sex of the infant.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Laboratory Animal Medicine, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, Texas, USA; 2: Anthropology Department, The University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA; 3: Yerkes Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; 4: The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, Texas, USA; 5: Department of Genetics, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, Texas, USA


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