Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract In the Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania, a chimpanzee mother moved to a neighboring unit-group leaving her 5-year-old son behind in the original group. The mother remained in the new group for ten months and then after conceiving, returned to the original group. The mother and son were reunited again but the son died of illness two months later. The mother gave birth to a baby in the original group but eventually transferred to the neighboring group after that baby disappeared. This is the first record of an immature chimpanzee abandoned by its emigrating mother, although a similar phenomenon has been reported for gorillas and Hanuman langurs. The abandoned offspring followed an adult male of the unit-group and the male was the individual who gave most of the care to the offspring. The offspring's time spent on grooming others increased, the time spent on being groomed decreased, and the rate of aggression toward him increased after his mother's desertion. This report will occasion to reconsider the previous notion of all-powerful mother-offspring bond in chimpanzees.
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