Testosterone in juvenile and adolescent male chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): Effects of dominance rank, aggression, and behavioral style

Authors

  • Stephanie F. Anestis

    Corresponding author
    1. Reproductive Ecology Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8277
    • Reproductive Ecology Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, PO Box 208277, New Haven, CT 06520-8277
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Abstract

Testosterone is a steroid hormone with diverse effects on male reproductive function and behavior. The relationship between testosterone and social behavior such as mating and aggression has been investigated in a variety of primate species, but few such studies have been conducted on chimpanzees, and even fewer on primates during the juvenile and adolescent periods. This study explores the relationship between baseline urinary testosterone and behavioral variables including dominance rank, rates of aggression toward peers, and behavioral style in 16 juvenile and adolescent male chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) living at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana. Behavioral observations and urine collection occurred during four research periods, each a year apart. After correcting for the positive association between testosterone and age, testosterone was positively associated with both dominance rank and rates of aggression directed at others. It was negatively associated with rates of aggression received. Individuals scoring highest in the “mellow” behavioral style component showed higher levels of testosterone than individuals scoring lowest in this component, an effect that may be partially due to the confounding effect of rank. The results of this study suggest that hormonal changes during the period preceding adulthood are not simply programmed physiological processes tied primarily to age-related change, but that important age-independent relationships with behavior also exist. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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