Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Attractive and successful - In bonobos, attractive females are more likely to win conflicts against males

16.07.2013
Female social dominance over males is rare among mammal species. Bonobos, one of our closest living relatives, are known for females holding relatively high social statuses when compared to males; though this is puzzling as the males are often bigger and stronger than the females.

Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have now analyzed the dominance relations between male and female wild bonobos and took particular interest in the high social status ranking of some females.


Bonobo man Jack grooms female Susi in Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. © Caroline Deimel, LuiKotale Bonobo Project

The result: It is not female alliances that help females win conflicts. The context of the conflict does not seem to be relevant for its outcome either. Instead, the attractiveness of females plays an important role. If females display sexually attractive attributes, including sexual swellings, they win conflicts with males more easily, with the males behaving in a less aggressive way.

While intersexual dominance relations in bonobos never have been thoroughly studied in the wild, several ideas exist of how females attain their dominance status. Some researchers suggest that bonobo female dominance is facilitated by females forming coalitions which suppress male aggression. Others think of an evolutionary scenario in which females prefer non-aggressive males which renders male aggressiveness to a non-adaptive trait.

A recent study by researchers of the LuiKotale bonobo project from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology reports on the outcomes of intersexual conflicts in a bonobo community near the Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Based on the analysis of outcomes of conflicts between the sexes, they found a sex-independent dominance hierarchy with several females occupying top ranks.

Furthermore they discovered that only two factors have a significant influence on the outcome of intersexual conflicts: female motivation to help offspring and attractiveness. That is, whenever females defend their offspring against male aggression, often alone but sometimes in groups, males defer to females. But even more interestingly, females are more likely to win conflicts against males during times when they exhibit sexual swellings indicating elevated fecundity.

Martin Surbeck, first author of the publication, says: “In those situations, males also aggress females less often, which is different from chimpanzees, our other closest living relatives.” The results indicate that in bonobos both female sexuality and male mating strategies are involved in the shifting dominance relationships between the sexes.

Contact

Dr. Martin Surbeck
Dept. of Primatology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Phone: +49 341 3550-202
Email: surbeck@­eva.mpg.de
Sandra Jacob
Press and Public Relations
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Phone: +49 341 3550-122
Fax: +49 341 3550-119
Email: jacob@­eva.mpg.de
Original publication
Martin Surbeck, Gottfried Hohmann
Intersexual dominance relationships and the influence of leverage on the outcome of conflicts in wild bonobos (Pan paniscus)

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 9 July 2013, DOI: 10.1007/s00265-013-1584-8

Dr. Martin Surbeck | Max-Planck-Institute
Further information:
http://­www.eva.mpg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bolstering fat cells offers potential new leukemia treatment
17.10.2017 | McMaster University

nachricht Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes
17.10.2017 | King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>