Female Strategies: Conflict, Compromise, and Cooperation Between the Sexes

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: Conflict, Compromise, and Cooperation Between the Sexes

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  • Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology


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Gorilla female society can be described as one of groups of mostly unrelated females that transfer between males, especially at maturity. The grouping is allowed by the distribution of the gorilla's main food (widespread, dense vegetation), which results in a lack of contest competition and therefore of cooperation in competition. Lack of competition allows grouping, whereas lack of benefits from cooperation allows emigration. The grouping, which is a result of several females choosing one male with which to associate, is explained by the benefits to the females of proximity to a protective male twice the females' size. Protection is afforded against predators and infanticidal males. Breeding females emigrate to find more powerful males, while nubile females emigrate to avoid breeding with relatives. This chapter, which discusses gorilla female strategies, focusing on conflict, compromise, and cooperation between the sexes, also examines gorilla society and their food, as well as the male's influence on emigration by females.

Keywords: gorilla females; gorilla society; food; conflict; compromise; cooperation; emigration; gorilla males; grouping

Chapter.  3667 words. 

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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