According to the recent study published in Current Biology journal, male chimps who violently attack females, often leaving serious wounds, are usually more successful in breeding.
The research took place at Kibale National Park in Uganda, where Arizona States University researchers studied the Kanyawara chimp community and observed violence from male chimpanzees towards females, and also have come to the conclusion that it proceeds as a kind of sexual coercion. Moreover, long-term sustained violence escort female chimpanzees to positively look for the violent males as mating partners throughout peak fertility.
“This signifies that males, particularly those of high rank, effectively use a technique of long-term sexual bullying.” Ian Gilby, an assistant professor at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and Research affiliate with the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University stated.
No doubt science has long been known of male bullying towards female chimps, but it wasn’t known that this resulted in reproductive success. DNA testing of 31 infants born throughout the research verifies that, yes, males who bully and abuse the women tend to have more offspring.
Within an interesting twist, the research finds that aggression sits dormant to coerce sex for the short term, i.e., male chimps don’t seem to assault and rape females. The best predictor of paternity for top ranking males is in fact the regularity of violence outside of the reproductive period. When violence becomes common, they’re more prone to mate frequently, therefore raising the likelihood of fathering the offspring.
However, it’s rational to visualize that female chimps simply show a desire for aggressive, dominant males, the paternity patterns propose it’s not the situation. Rather, it seems that violent males are also more able to protect their mates from other suitors.
However, Gilby warns that our resemblance in DNA doesn’t mean humans and chimps aren’t extremely different species; “We should take care not to jump to conclusions. Chimps are among our nearest living relatives, but 7 million years of evolution separate us, and our mating systems are not the same. Nonetheless, realizing the adaptive worth of male-female aggression in chimps might certainly allow us to know, and hopefully prevent, similar behavior among humans.”