Begging and social tolerance: Food solicitation tactics in young chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the wild

Marlen Fröhlich, Gudrun Müller, Claudia Zeiträg, Roman M. Wittig, Simone Pika

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


The substantial role of food sharing in human evolution has been widely recognized, and food-soliciting tactics may have been critical in facilitating these transfers. Great apes, our closest living relatives, also use different food-soliciting tactics to obtain food from both kin and non-kin. However, the individual and social factors involved in requests for and subsequent transfers of food have been relatively little studied. Here, we examined which tactics (e.g., tactile gestures, taking actions, and vocalizations) infant chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) employ to solicit food as well as the success of obtaining food from their conspecifics. Using a multimodal approach, we focused on food-related interactions in 14 chimpanzee infants of two different subspecies (P. t. schweinfurthii/verus) living in the communities of Kanyawara, Uganda, and Taï South, Côte d'Ivoire. Overall, we found that infants' solicitation tactics included mainly visual or tactile gestural requests and taking attempts, while vocalizations and gestures involving auditory components were rarely used. With increasing age, infants used more visual gestures when soliciting food from conspecifics other than the mother. If food was solicited from mothers or maternal kin, infants predominantly begged for food via (mechanically effective) taking attempts. In terms of subsequent food transfers, taking attempts were more successful than gestures. In light of the prevalent use of non-contact begging despite low rates of success, food solicitation in young great apes might also function to facilitate social tolerance and gain social information. We thus conclude that the food sharing context might represent a critical platform to learn and practice social rules underlying cooperative interactions, which can later be generalized across collaborative domains.

Sidor (från-till)126-135
Antal sidor10
TidskriftEvolution and Human Behavior
StatusPublished - 2020 mars

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Etologi


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