Cofeeding tolerance in chimpanzees depends on group composition: a longitudinal study across four communities

Sarah E. DeTroy*, Cody T. Ross, Katherine A. Cronin, Edwin J.C. van Leeuwen, Daniel B.M. Haun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Social tolerance is generally treated as a stable, species-specific characteristic. Recent research, however, has questioned this position and emphasized the importance of intraspecific variation. We investigate the temporal stability of social tolerance in four groups of sanctuary-housed chimpanzees over eight years using a commonly employed measure: experimental cofeeding tolerance. We then draw on longitudinal data on the demographic composition of each group to identify the factors associated with cofeeding tolerance. We find appreciable levels of variation in cofeeding tolerance across both groups and years that correspond closely to changes in group-level demographic composition. For example, cofeeding tolerance is lower when there are many females with young infants. These results suggest that social tolerance may be a “responding trait” of chimpanzee sociality, reflecting individual-level behavioral responses to social changes. Additional, experimental research is needed to better model the causal drivers of social tolerance within and among species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102175
Pages (from-to)1-31
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Zoology


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