Nov
26
2006

Are you hot? Male chimps prefer older females

Looking for love: According to new research, male chimps prefer older females over young females when they're looking for a partner to mate with. That's actually not so surprising, as in many other mammal species females reach their peak in fertility at middle age.
Looking for love: According to new research, male chimps prefer older females over young females when they're looking for a partner to mate with. That's actually not so surprising, as in many other mammal species females reach their peak in fertility at middle age.

Remember that TV show from a few years ago - Are You Hot?

Well, in the world of chimpanzees, who's hot isn't the same as what most human males classify as hot.

The latest issue of Current Biology includes research findings that most male chimps find the older females of their species more attractive for mating than younger female chimps.

"Although it's easy to imagine that male chimps would like to mate with whatever female is available, it turns out they really have strong preferences" for the older females, says anthropologist Martin Muller of Boston University, the lead author of the study. "We've seen them just ignoring younger females who are all over them."

The findings are based on eight years of watching chimps in Uganda. Chimp males are not too subtle in their courting rituals, so researchers clearly knew what was going on when they were selecting their mates. In the majority of cases, they'd prefer an older female over a younger female if they had a choice among who to mate with.

Why to they have such different tastes than their male counterparts of the human species?

One big difference is that female chimps never go through menopause, which could lead male chimps to consider them to be more experienced mothers and better caregivers for their offspring. And among many mammal species, fertility rates tend to be higher among middle-aged females than younger females.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

bryan kennedy's picture

Huh, I wonder why female chimps never go through menopause. Is it just because they don't live long enough?

posted on Mon, 11/27/2006 - 11:07am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

It's a good question. This source says that chimps experience fewer and fewer periods as they age, instead of stopping relatively abruptly like people do. Maybe it's all just about how you define "menopause"?

Here's an interesting article discussing menopause in humans versus reproductive success in lionesses and female baboons.

posted on Mon, 11/27/2006 - 12:51pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Do girl chimps have periods then?

posted on Mon, 11/27/2006 - 11:40am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Yes. The chimpanzee menstrual cycle is extremely similar to the human menstrual cycle. A chimp's period lasts about three days.

posted on Mon, 11/27/2006 - 12:29pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

woah...i didnt know that. that's kind of interesting

posted on Mon, 11/27/2006 - 11:40am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

interesting.

posted on Mon, 11/27/2006 - 12:32pm
kvang's picture
kvang says:

WOW! i would never of had guessed that male chimps would prefer older female chimps. I thought that it was same for all animals to aim for the younger than the older, interesting!

posted on Tue, 12/12/2006 - 6:22pm

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