Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wild Chimpanzees: Meat For Sex

An adult male chimpanzee holding the rib case of a red colobus monkey that he hunted. Photo from Discovery Channel News.

Wild chimpanzee males in the Tai National Park at Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa have been observed exchanging meat for sex on a long term basis, according to a new study. Cristina Gomes and Christophe Boesch found that males who share their meat with females increase their mating success.

For the females, meat is an important source of protein when they experience nutrition depletion, especially during estrus. So, it is beneficial for females to receive meat from males. Reproductive success then depends on good male hunting skills. The researchers also believe that there is a parallel between meat-sharing in hunter-gatherer societies and in chimpanzees. Hunters in hunter-gatherer societies tend to have more sexual partners.

Read the rest of the article from Discovery Channel News.

Did the evolution of meat-eating and meat-sharing in chimpanzees has anything to do with mating and reproductive success? Are these cultural behaviors since it is only observed in the Tai Forest National Park population?

7 comments:

Marcel F. Williams said...

I believe that there were test conducted on captive chimpanzees decades ago where they were taught to use tokens in order to access food items. The researchers soon discovered that female chimps ended up with more food tokens than the male chimpanzees. And the researchers soon discovered that male chimps were giving their tokens to female chimpanzees in exchange for sex.

So I guess human males buying a date dinner isn't all the innocent:-)

Raymond Ho said...

I think I remember something like that to an extent. Yes, dinner date doesn't really translate to anything innocent especially when you order the most expensive meal on the menu ;)

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