I don’t think any other human on earth has as much knowledge about these apes as Jane Goodall who easily communicates with Chimpanzees irrespective of where they are in the world.
Dame Jane Morris Goodall DBE, a world renowned primatologist and anthropologist is considered the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees. She has backed up knowledge spanning over 60 years’ studying the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees.
That’s why she is reverred and celebrated as the largest living encyclopedia on Chimpanzee globally.
Of all the interesting aspects of Chimpanzees, one that interests me the most is the fluidity of the dominance hierarchy among male chimpanzee where individuals associate with each other and join and leave different subgroups with complete freedom.
Another is how the dominant (alpha) male of a group monopolizes ovulating females through possessive behaviour. And when other males find their konji unbearable, they plan a mutiny and gang up against the alpha male, wounding him in the process, and expelling him from the group known as party.
Immediately after the success of the coup, the leading males would pounce on ovulating females and have their fill until another dominant male among them assumes leadership.
Dominant males use sex as tools for punishing errant females or adolescent females, and in some rare cases males too.
Unlike in lions, Chimpanzee males spend all of their lives in the community they are born in, but occasionally a juvenile male may transfer to another community with his mother.
But for females the story is different. Most females leave their group of birth to join a neighbouring group when they mature at around age 11, but they hit full sexual maturity at 13 when some start menstruating.
Just like human females, Chimp menstrual cycles vary from chimp to chimp. Some chimps have shorter cycles, around 28 days; others have cycles as long as 45 days There is yet no evidence or study to determine if they have menstrual induced mood swings.
During menstruation, the females use leaves or gather dey shrubs as sanitary pads, also during their grooming sessions, older females check out younger ones especially those experiencing their menarche to help them understand what they’re going through.
However, unlike humans, female Chimpanzees seem not to hit menopause as they grow older, . they continue to display cycles of menstrual bleeding and genital swelling, suggestive of ovulation, until near their maximum life span of about 60 years. Because ovulation was not confirmed hormonally, however, the age at which chimpanzees experience menopause has remained uncertain.
Female chimpanzees spend most of their time with their young or with other females. Those with dependent offspring are more likely to range alone. And females have been known to form coalitions against a bullying adult male or newly immigrated female.
Like their cousins human beings, Chimpanzees can exhibit tribal segregation, and also embark of territorial raids which can be very violent. A group may invade a neighbouring territory and such explorations can be fatal with reports of infanticide and even cannibalism by adult males, and to a lesser extent by adult females.
The Chimpanzee social settings can be quite restive with both inter and intra group wranglings not different from humans. This is mostly as a result of between- and within-group competition among individuals of the same sex always leading to violence.
Clique formation is rife within the chimp community, sometimes a male and female will form a consortship, engaging in exclusive mating relationships by leaving other members of the group and staying in the periphery of the group range. This strategy, however, brings increased risk of attack by neighbouring groups.
What an amazing set of animals.