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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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Female Strategies: Male Influences; Emigration and Choice of Males

Female Strategies: Male Influences; Emigration and Choice of Males

(p.225) Chapter 8 Female Strategies: Male Influences; Emigration and Choice of Males
Gorilla Society

Alexander H. Harcourt

University of Chicago Press

Emigration by female gorillas, and especially their immediate transfer to another male, makes gorilla society unusual among group-living mammals. The nature and distribution of food explains only why females can emigrate and travel with a new male, but not why they do so. Mating and rearing strategies, not feeding strategies, explain females' emigration. Breeding females that leave one male for another do so, the circumstances suggest, to find a more powerful protector. Females born into a group are forced to emigrate to avoid inbreeding if their father is successful enough to be still alive and still the main breeding male when they mature. In other words, the male's mating strategy of long-term monopoly of a group of females constrains the females' mating strategies. However, the costs of inbreeding are only relative. If either the costs of emigration or benefits of staying outweigh the costs of inbreeding, daughters should stay. This chapter examines gorilla female strategies in comparison with Pan and Pongo, focusing on male influences, emigration, and mate choice.

Keywords:   gorilla females, Pan, Pongo, mate choice, inbreeding, gorilla males, emigration, mating strategies

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