Although the variability and complexity of chimpanzee behaviour frustrates generalization, it is widely believed that social evolution in this species occurs in the context of the recognizable social group or community. We used a combination of field observations and noninvasive genotyping to study the genetic structure of a habituated community of 55 wild chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes verus , in the Taı̈ Forest, Côte d’Ivoire. Pedigree relationships in that community show that female mate choice strategies are more variable than previously supposed and that the observed social groups are not the exclusive reproductive units. Genetic evidence based on nuclear microsatellite markers and behavioural obser-vations reveal that females in the Taı̈ forest actively seek mating partners outside their social unit; noncommunity males accounted for half the paternities over 5 years. This female mating strategy increases male gene flow between communities despite male philopatry, and negates the predicted higher relatedness among community males. Kin selection seems unlikely to explain the frequent cooperation and sharing observed among group males in this population. Similarly, inbreeding avoidance is probably not the sole cause of permanent adolescent female dispersal as a combination of extragroup mating and avoidance of incest with home group males would allow females to avoid inbreeding without the hazards associated with immigration into a new community. Extragroup mating as part of chimpanzee females’ reproductive strategy may allow them to choose from a wider variety and number of males, without losing the resources and support provided by their male social group partners.
Animal Behaviour – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 1999
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