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A within-group gang attack on a young adult male chimpanzee: Ostracism of an ill-mannered member?

by Toshisada Nishida, Kazuhiko Hosaka, Miho Nakamura, Miya Hamai
Primates ()


During a long-term study of wild chimpanzees in Tanzania, an unusual gang attack on a young adult male by the alpha male and seven other members of the same unit group (community) was observed and videotaped. Before the gang attack, the victim had not pant-grunted to the alpha male or to other adult males except for the second-ranked male, but had often bullied adult females without apparent reason. The alpha male's violent behavior, therefore, might have been punishment of or revenge against the ill-mannered young chimpanzee. This is the first record of an adult male other than an ex-alpha male becoming the object of ostracism by wild chimpanzees, although the victimized male did manage to return to the group after more than three months, when an ex-alpha male succeeded in reestablishing his former position.

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