Female Strategies: Male Influences; Emigration and Choice of Males

Alexander H. Harcourt

in Gorilla Society

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780226316024
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226316048 | DOI:
Female Strategies: Male Influences; Emigration and Choice of Males

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Emigration by female gorillas, and especially their immediate transfer to another male, makes gorilla society unusual among group-living mammals. The nature and distribution of food explains only why females can emigrate and travel with a new male, but not why they do so. Mating and rearing strategies, not feeding strategies, explain females' emigration. Breeding females that leave one male for another do so, the circumstances suggest, to find a more powerful protector. Females born into a group are forced to emigrate to avoid inbreeding if their father is successful enough to be still alive and still the main breeding male when they mature. In other words, the male's mating strategy of long-term monopoly of a group of females constrains the females' mating strategies. However, the costs of inbreeding are only relative. If either the costs of emigration or benefits of staying outweigh the costs of inbreeding, daughters should stay. This chapter examines gorilla female strategies in comparison with Pan and Pongo, focusing on male influences, emigration, and mate choice.

Keywords: gorilla females; Pan; Pongo; mate choice; inbreeding; gorilla males; emigration; mating strategies

Chapter.  5001 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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