Personality traits, rank attainment, and siring success throughout the lives of male chimpanzees of Gombe National Park

ALEXANDER Weiss, Joseph Feldblum, Drew Altschul, Anthony Collins, Shadrack Kamenya, Deus Mjungu, Steffen Foerster, Ian Gilby, Michael Wilson, Anne Pusey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Personality traits in many taxa correlate with fitness. Several models have been developed to try to explain how variation in these traits is maintained. One model proposes that variation persists because it is linked to trade-offs between current and future adaptive benefits. Tests of this model’s predictions, however, are scant in long-lived species. To test this model, we studied male chimpanzees living in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. We operationalized six personality traits using ratings on 19 items. We used 37 years of behavioral and genetic data to assemble (1) daily rank scores generated from submissive vocalizations and (2) records of male siring success. We tested whether the association between two personality traits, Dominance and Conscientiousness, and either rank or reproductive success, varied over the life course. Higher Dominance and lower Conscientiousness were associated with higher rank, but the size and direction of these relationships did not vary over the life course. In addition, independent of rank at the time of siring, higher Dominance and lower Conscientiousness were related to higher siring success. Again, the size and direction of these relationships did not vary over the life course. The trade-off model, therefore, may not hold in long-lived and/or slowly reproducing species. These findings also demonstrate that ratings are a valid way to measure animal personality; they are related to rank and reproductive success. These traits could therefore be used to test alternative models, including one that posits that personality variation is maintained by environmental heterogeneity, in studies of multiple chimpanzee communities.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15083
JournalPeerJ
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • chimpanzee
  • personality
  • fitness
  • reproductive success
  • life-history
  • trade-offs
  • Gombe

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