Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

For some gorillas, local kin may mean local peace

23.03.2004


Scientists studying the elusive western gorilla observed that neighboring social groups have surprisingly peaceful interactions, in contrast to the aggressive male behavior well documented in mountain gorillas. By analyzing the DNA from fecal and hair samples of the western gorilla, scientists uncovered evidence that these neighboring social groups are often led by genetically related males. These findings suggest connections between genetic relationships and group interactions, parallels with human social and behavioral structures, and clues to the social world of early humans.




In the new work, reported by Brenda Bradley and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Stony Brook University, the researchers collected DNA samples to characterize patterns of paternity within and among western gorilla social groups. The authors found that a strong majority of silverbacks were related to other silverbacks in the area and that in almost all cases, the nest sites of related silverbacks were found near each other. It was already known that both male and female western gorillas leave their natal group once mature, but the new findings suggest that the dispersing males may remain in the vicinity of male kin, forming a so-called "dispersed male network."

These genetic results point to a social structure previously unrecognized in gorillas and may help explain other unique characteristics of the western gorilla. Recent studies have reported that western gorillas exhibit frequent and often peaceful encounters between groups, behavior that differs significantly with that of the more extensively studied mountain gorilla. In contrast, the mountain gorillas have infrequent social interactions with other groups and, when they do occur, they tend to involve aggressive male-male threat displays and female herding behavior. Moreover, multiple adult male mountain gorillas, often relatives, may remain together within a given mountain gorilla group, rather than dispersing.


The researchers theorize that the dispersed male network and the social behavior of the western gorilla may be connected, in part because peaceful interactions between related males may be beneficial. This idea is in keeping with kin-selection theory, a well-regarded set of ideas for how related members of a society interact to benefit the related group. According to the authors, western gorilla male networks may benefit younger males as they attempt to attract females and form new groups, since male-male aggression is thought to hinder the acquisition and retention of females. Similar scenarios have been reported for some bird species, and there is ample evidence of such relationships underlying aspects of human social interactions, including marriage patterns. In addition, some relevant aspects of western gorilla society are shared with chimpanzees. The new findings point to characteristics that appear to be held in common between humans and some other African apes, suggesting that kinship patterns both within and among groups may have played an important role in shaping the social world of early humans.

Brenda J. Bradley, Diane M. Doran-Sheehy, Dieter Lukas, Christophe Boesch, and Linda Vigilant: "Dispersed Male Networks in Western Gorillas"


###
Published in Current Biology, Volume 14, Number 6, 23 March 2003.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cell.com/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cells communicate in a dynamic code
19.02.2018 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Studying mitosis' structure to understand the inside of cancer cells
19.02.2018 | Biophysical Society

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

When Proteins Shake Hands

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>