|Our closest genetic relative, the chimpanzee|
The fact is, there are many ways to interpret this study, and the close genetic relationship between chimpanzees and humans means that of course we're all going to ask, what does this mean for humans?
Well, with sixteen years of data, there's certainly enough evidence to say that bullying females provides an advantage for chimpanzees at Gombe. However, how do we not know that these bullying males are aggressive with all chimpanzees, males and females and that aggression in general is the trait increasing their sexual advantage? Maybe this is the case or maybe not. My point here is simply that chimpanzees and complex and their reproduction and mating rituals are also complex.
|Chimpanzee and offspring Photo credit: Neil McIntosh|
The take home messages are; 1) be careful when reading about science from sources other than the original scientists and 2) with animals and biology especially, remember that simple studies are needed for us to ask answerable questions, but that the reality may be very complex.