Group Dynamics at Gombe

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 12:56pm

Chimpanzees live in a fission-fusion society whereby members of a community can freely join or leave a group at any time. Food normally dictates whether individuals join or avoid a group. When availability of food is low, chimpanzees, especially females with their dependents, tend to avoid groups.

For the past three months, availability of food in the Kasakela community’s range has been good. This has made it possible for many mothers, including Fanni, to rejoin community groups. Fanni is one of Fifi’s daughters. Currently, Fanni has five offspring.  Her male offspring include Fudge (15), Fundi (roughly 12), and Fifti (more than 2). Fanni’s two female offspring include Familia (roughly 8) and Fadhila (4). All of Fanni’s offspring are doing well, with Fudge and Fundi beginning to gain more independence from their mother.

At 31 years of age and with five offspring, Fanni is one of the most prolific mothers of the Kasakela community. Hopefully, Fanni will bear even more offspring than her mother, Fifi, who gave birth to eight chimps during her lifetime.

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