Correlates of individual participation in boundary patrols by male chimpanzees

Anthony P. Massaro, Ian C. Gilby, Nisarg Desai, Alexander Weiss, Joseph T. Feldblum, Anne E. Pusey, Michael L. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Group territory defence poses a collective action problem: individuals can freeride, benefitingwithout payingthe costs. Individual heterogeneity has been proposed to solve such problems, as individuals high in reproductive success, rank, fighting ability or motivation may benefit from defending territories even if others free-ride. To test this hypothesis,we analysed 30 years of data fromchimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the Kasekela community, Gombe National Park, Tanzania (1978 2007).We examinedthe extent towhichindividualparticipation in patrols varied according to correlates of reproductive success (mating rate, rank, age), fighting ability (hunting), motivation (scores from personality ratings), costs of defecting (the number of adult males in the community) and gregariousness (sighting frequency). By contrast to expectations from collective action theory, males participated in patrols at consistently high rates (mean ± s.d. = 74.5 ± 11.1% of patrols, n = 23males). The best predictors of patrol participation were sighting frequency, age and hunting participation. Current and former alpha males did not participate at a higher rate than males that never achieved alpha status. These findings suggest that the temptation to free-ride is low, and that a mutualistic mechanism such as group augmentation may better explain individual participation in group territorial behaviour.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20210151
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1851
StatePublished - 2022


  • Pan troglodytes
  • boundary patrols
  • collection action problems
  • hunting
  • intergroup aggression
  • territorial behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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