Although testosterone (T) has well known organizational and activational effects on aggression, the relationship between the two is not always clear. The challenge hypothesis addresses this problem by proposing that T will affect aggression only in fitness-enhancing situations. One way to test the challenge hypothesis is to examine the relationship between T and different types of aggression. Chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes , show aggressive behaviours in several contexts and provide an opportunity for such a test. Here we show that urinary T influences a form of male chimpanzee reproductive aggression, territorial boundary patrols. In contrast, T does not affect predatory behaviour, a form of aggression that has no immediate link to male reproduction. While these results are consistent with the challenge hypothesis, our results indicate that male chimpanzees experience a significant drop in urinary T during hunts. Additional analyses reveal that males who share meat with others display this decrease. The reason for this decrement is unclear, but we hypothesize that the relative lack of aggression that results from voluntary sharing episodes and the tolerance engendered by such acts may be contributory factors.
Animal Behaviour – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2012
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