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Research conducted by the University of Kent has suggested that the sexual selection hypothesis for infanticide may be the key driver for the high rate of infant killings among a community of chimpanzees in Uganda.
Led by Ph.D. student Adriana Lowe and Dr. Nicholas Newton-Fisher from Kent's Living Primates Group, the research team analysed the records of infanticides and failed attempts at infanticide over a 24-year period in the Sonso community of chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest.
Infanticide - Chimpanzees - Sonso - Community - Practice
While relatively rare, infanticide is well documented in chimpanzees but those in the Sonso community are more prone to practice it than others that have been studied, with infanticide the most common cause of infant death there. However, although various explanations have been proposed, this study is the first to thoroughly investigate the phenomenon.
For the study, the team analysed 33 attacks on 30 victims from a single community of chimpanzees between 1993 and 2017. From this they were able to determine that 11 of the attacks were 'definite' infanticides, four 'almost certain," nine 'suspected," and nine 'attempted." Most attacks were by adult males, and the victims were often very young: two thirds were under one week old. The team also noted incidents of partial cannibalism.
Analysis - Observations - Selection - Hypothesis—the - Idea
From their analysis and observations they concluded that the sexual selection hypothesis—the idea that male chimpanzees will kill infants other...
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