Wild male chimps steal to impress females

September 12, 2007

Scottish researchers studying wild chimpanzees in West Africa have discovered male chimps steal fruits from local farms to attract female mates.

Lead researcher Kimberley Hockings of the University of Stirling said the discovery is the only recorded example of regular sharing of plant foods by unrelated, non-provisioned wild chimpanzees.

"We believe the males may be using crop-raids as a way to advertise their prowess to other group-members, especially the opposite sex," Hockings said. "Such daring behavior certainly seems to be an attractive trait and possessing a sought-after food item, such as papaya, appears to draw even more positive attention from the females."

The study, which took place in the West African village of Bossou in the Republic of Guinea, appears in the online journal PLoS One.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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