Comparing maternal styles in bonobos (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Authors

  • Mieke De Lathouwers,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
    2. Centre for Research and Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
    • Wild Animal Park Planckendael, Leuvensesteenweg 582, B-2812 Muizen-Mechelen, Belgium
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  • Linda Van Elsacker

    1. Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
    2. Centre for Research and Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
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Abstract

Studies on Cercopithecine primate maternal styles, using factor analysis on a set of maternal behaviors, commonly render two factors that describe separate dimensions of maternal behavior: protectiveness and rejection. The aims of this study were to 1) investigate whether this method for determining maternal styles in Cercopithecine species can be applied to bonobos (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), 2) determine whether they follow the same pattern, and 3) assess whether species differences in maternal style are apparent. We performed a factor analysis on nine maternal behaviors using data on eight mother–infant pairs of each species. This resulted in three factors: protectiveness, distance, and refusal. Protectiveness is positively correlated with time spent in ventral contact, making contact, approaching, and restraining. Distance is positively related with breaking contact and leaving. Refusal is positively correlated with rejecting and nipple-rejecting. The pattern of protectiveness corresponds with the pattern found in Cercopithecine species, suggesting a high consistency of this dimension across species and higher taxa. The retention of the other two factors indicates that in the Pan species, breaking contact and leaving represent another dimension, apart from rejecting and nipple-rejecting, which usually fall under one dimension in Cercopithecine species. An interspecific comparison of the factor scores for each dimension of maternal behavior reveals that, on average, bonobos and chimpanzees score equally on protectiveness. Scores on distance increase positively with infant age in chimpanzees, and negatively in bonobos, and on average bonobos have higher scores on refusal. These interspecies differences in maternal style are discussed in the light of interspecies differences in infant development, infant vulnerability to aggression, interbirth intervals, and female sociality. Am. J. Primatol. 64:411–423. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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