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dc.contributor.authorFedurek, Pawel
dc.contributor.authorTkaczynski, Patrick
dc.contributor.authorAsiimwe, Caroline
dc.contributor.authorHobaiter, Catherine
dc.contributor.authorSamuni, Liran
dc.contributor.authorLowe, Adriana E.
dc.contributor.authorDijrian, Appolinaire Gnahe
dc.contributor.authorZuberbühler, Klaus
dc.contributor.authorWittig, Roman M.
dc.contributor.authorCrockford, Catherine
dc.identifier.citationFedurek , P , Tkaczynski , P , Asiimwe , C , Hobaiter , C , Samuni , L , Lowe , A E , Dijrian , A G , Zuberbühler , K , Wittig , R M & Crockford , C 2019 , ' Maternal cannibalism in two populations of wild chimpanzees ' , Primates , vol. First Online .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 263235938
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 38ffca9e-f534-4bd0-a2a7-4ec5fa3d1569
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85074483513
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0001-8378-088X/work/64697356
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0002-3893-0524/work/64697858
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000521566700001
dc.description.abstractMaternal cannibalism has been reported in several animal taxa, prompting speculations that the behavior may be part of an evolved strategy. In chimpanzees, however, maternal cannibalism has been conspicuously absent, despite high levels of infant mortality and reports of non-maternal cannibalism. The typical response of chimpanzee mothers is to abandon their deceased infant, sometimes after prolonged periods of carrying and grooming the corpse. Here, we report two anomalous observations of maternal cannibalism in communities of wild chimpanzees in Uganda and Ivory Coast and discuss the evolutionary implications. Both infants likely died under different circumstances; one apparently as a result of premature birth, the other possibly as a result of infanticide. In both cases, the mothers consumed parts of the corpse and participated in meat sharing with other group members. Neither female presented any apparent signs of ill health before or after the events. We concluded that, in both cases, cannibalizing the infant was unlikely due to health-related issues by the mothers. We discuss these observations against a background of chimpanzee mothers consistently refraining from maternal cannibalism, despite ample opportunities and nutritional advantages. We conclude that maternal cannibalism is extremely rare in this primate, likely due to early and strong mother–offspring bond formation, which may have been profoundly disrupted in the current cases.
dc.rightsCopyright © The Author(s) 2019. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.en
dc.subjectMaternal cannibalismen
dc.subjectParental investmenten
dc.subjectBF Psychologyen
dc.subjectQL Zoologyen
dc.subjectAnimal Science and Zoologyen
dc.titleMaternal cannibalism in two populations of wild chimpanzeesen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Psychology and Neuroscienceen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Centre for Social Learning & Cognitive Evolutionen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciencesen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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