Kasey Dresser| July 14, 2019
This weeks segment looks at how social stress manifests in chimpanzees.
Chimpanzees react to social stress, just like humans.
This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.
Behavioral dominance is the hierarchical relationship between members of a community established through force, aggression or even submission. In many animal species, dominant individuals have health and fitness benefits, more than their peers. However, a new study from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology uses chimpanzees to study some costs of behavioral dominance.
In a community of chimpanzees, there are periods where the social dominance hierarchy shifts and there is competition among the males. Surprisingly, a majority of chimpanzees become less aggressive during that time due to stress. The senior author for the study, Roman Wittig, explained that chimpanzees are territorial but employ conflict management to diminish the risk of injuries.
This reaction is not only behavioral. The authors collected urine samples and discovered high cortisol levels, indicating high stress, during such periods. The study showed that aggression alone is not a good indicator of competition between chimps.
For more information, visit iowa-environmental-focus-dot-org.
From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Sara E. Mason.