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Keywords:

  • genotyping;
  • reproductive success;
  • male reproductive strategies;
  • priority of access

Abstract

We analyzed patterns of paternity and male dominance rank in the Sonso community of wild East African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in the Budongo Forest, Uganda. Our major objective was to determine whether and how social rank influenced paternity success. We successfully genotyped 52 individuals at up to nine microsatellite loci, using DNA extracted from fecal samples. Of 24 offspring analyzed, we identified sires for 21. Paternity success was significantly correlated with social rank, with alpha males siring a disproportionate number of offspring. However, both middle- and low-ranking males also fathered offspring, and the priority-of-access model provided a relatively poor prediction of which males would be successful and under what circumstances. The concentration of paternities among only seven males and the tendency for high-ranking males to sire offspring of multiparous females suggest that both individual variation in male quality and the resource value of particular females may be mediating factors. In comparison with other chimpanzee studies, our results support the hypothesis that larger male cohort size reduces the ability of the alpha male to monopolize females, though within our study, male number did not affect the success of the alpha. Successful sires were not necessarily those who achieved the highest mating success with the females whose offspring they sired, but were those who demonstrated higher investment by spending significantly more time in association with these females. Finally, we estimate extra-group paternity at 0–5%, supporting other evidence that the community serves as the primary reproductive unit in chimpanzees. Am J Phys Anthropol 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.