The relationship between food calling and agonistic behaviour in wild chimpanzees


Ischer G, Zuberbühler K & Fedurek P (2020) The relationship between food calling and agonistic behaviour in wild chimpanzees. Behavioural Processes, 178, Art. No.: 104182.

A number of social animals produce food-associated calls, which have been interpreted as informative and referential about the quality or quantity of food accessed by the caller. In chimpanzees, however, some behavioural patterns have remained unexplained by this model, suggesting that food-associated calls have a more generalized social function beyond attracting others to food, such as promoting tolerance between co-feeding individuals. In this study, we investigated how wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of Budongo Forest, Uganda, use food associated-calls in situations when social tolerance is low, i.e., during agonistic interactions. We found a positive relationship between food calling and agonistic behaviours during a feeding event, independent of the number of males on the feeding patch. Moreover, food calling followed rather than preceded agonistic interactions, suggesting that aggression can trigger food call production. These results support the view that chimpanzee food-associated calls can act as social tools mediating competitive or aggressive interactions.

Aggression; Chimpanzee; Conflict; Food-associated calls

Behavioural Processes: Volume 178

FundersRoyal Zoological Society of Scotland, Université de Neuchâtel, Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung and Budongo Conservation Field Station
Publication date30/09/2020
Publication date online30/06/2020
Date accepted by journal15/06/2020
PublisherElsevier BV