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Gorilla SocietyConflict, Compromise, and Cooperation Between the Sexes$
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Alexander H. Harcourt and Kelly J. Stewart

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226316024

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226316048.001.0001

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Male Mating Strategies and Gorilla Society

Male Mating Strategies and Gorilla Society

Chapter:
(p.267) Chapter 11 Male Mating Strategies and Gorilla Society
Source:
Gorilla Society
Author(s):

Alexander H. Harcourt

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226316048.003.0011

Male mating strategies have a large impact on gorilla society. They help to explain the stability of gorilla groups (long male breeding tenure and female group tenure), as well as group composition, in particular the number of males. Male mating competition influences both male and female dispersal and female residence decisions. As indicated by the extreme sexual dimorphism of gorillas and the single-male, multi-female composition of groups, male gorillas compete intensively for exclusive, long-term access to females. At its most serious, this rivalry includes damaging, sometimes fatal, aggression between males, and infanticide. This chapter examines gorilla male mating strategies and gorilla society in comparison with Pan and Pongo. It discusses mate acquisition versus mate retention and offspring protection, the influence of females on the stability of male–female associations, breeding success and mating competition, coercion and mate-guarding, the wooing of females by subordinate males, the interaction of male and female strategies, and the perpetuation of group structure. The chapter also looks at ecological constraints on group size, male mating competition, and male emigration.

Keywords:   gorilla males, gorilla females, Pan, Pongo, mating strategies, gorilla society, breeding, group size, mating competition

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