Demographic Factors Influence the Behavior of Wild Chimpanzees

Event Date: 

Friday, May 27, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Event Location: 

  • TD 1701
Spring 2016 Proseminar
Chimpanzees are humankind’s closest living relatives, and like us, they display considerable behavioral diversity.  While genetic, ecological, and cultural factors are traditionally invoked to explain behavioral variation in chimpanzees, the demographic context is often overlooked as a contributing factor.  For the past 21 years, I have conducted a long-term field study of an extremely large community of chimpanzees at Ngogo in the Kibale National Park, Uganda.  With over 200 individuals, the Ngogo chimpanzee community is significantly larger than other chimpanzee groups that have been studied in the wild.  My observations provide new insights into the hunting and territorial behavior of chimpanzees.  In this talk, I review some of my findings in this regard.  I include a discussion of some recently completed demographic analyses that reveal one reason why the Ngogo chimpanzee community is so large.
John Mitani is primate behavioral ecologist.  During the past 38 years, he has conducted field research investigating the behavior of our closest living relatives, the apes.  His current research involves a long-term study of an unusually large community of chimpanzees at Ngogo in the Kibale National Park, Uganda.