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Dolphins and Chimpanzees: A Case for Convergence?

Dolphins and Chimpanzees: A Case for Convergence?

Chapter:
(p.61) 3 Dolphins and Chimpanzees: A Case for Convergence?
Source:
Chimpanzees in Context
Author(s):
Janet MannMargaret A. StantonCarson M. Murray
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226728032.003.0003

Although convergence in dolphins and chimpanzees has been noted for decades, a lag in life history and behavioral data for bottlenose dolphins long precluded direct comparisons. As several long-term studies of bottlenose dolphins have reached a mature stage, such comparisons are now feasible. Evidence for convergence includes similarly extended life histories, with prolonged development and societies characterized by multi-male, multi-female groups, sex-segregation, promiscuous mating, alliance formation, and high fission-fusion dynamics. However, the distinct ecologies of these species drives critical differences. Compared to the closed communities of terrestrial chimpanzees, dolphins in their marine environment tend to show larger, open communities with more fluid subgroups. Additionally, despite similar age at weaning and sexual maturity, physically precocious dolphin calves show greater independence than their chimpanzee counterparts both before and after weaning. Notably, chimpanzees are also typically male philopatric, while most bottlenose dolphin societies are bisexually philopatric. As a likely result, female kinship bonds are stronger than male kinship bonds in dolphins, while the reverse is often true in chimpanzees. This chapter discusses these patterns in an effort to facilitate dialogue between researchers of these intriguingly long-lived, large-brained, and socially complex taxa.

Keywords:   cetaceans, social development, maternal behavior, fission-fusion, foraging ecology, life history, sex-differences, alliances

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