Nice chimps finish last: aggression correlated with reproductive success in chimpanzees

If this hold true for chimps; whoever is dating the one in the middle has to be very attractive

Chimps pictured during the one time a year in which they behave civilly

Language was invented for one reason, boys: to woo women. And a lot of other animal behaviour follows this pattern too; from the songs of birds to stags locking antlers. On the other hand chimps often get a bit lazy, preferring a more direct and…rapey approach.

Sexual aggression is a fairly common behaviour amongst our closest relatives, with high ranking┬ámales using their status and strength to force females to mate with them. Whilst this behaviour obviously results in more mating opportunities for the males involved there is some debate as to whether it actually increases their chance of parenting a child. In primates, frequency of copulation isn’t nnecessarilycorrelated with reproductive success. And not just primates either. There are species of bird in which “betas” will infiltrate the harem of higher ranking individuals; resulting in a fair few of the alphas children not actually belonging to him.

So a bunch of scientists gathered round a studied a chimpanzee group; watching who mated with whom and how much consent was involved. Then they sequenced the genes of the resulting offspring to see whether or not sexual aggression increased a chimps chance of reproductive success. And the results are in. And published.

And they reveal that yeah, sexual aggression does increase a males chances of having children after all. The higher the rank, the more coercive a chimp could be and the greater “benefits” they saw as a result. The length of time a chimp remained in power (and so could keep coercing) was also linked with reproductive success. So if you’re a chimp, don’t bother with language. Just try and do away with consent.


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