Stories tagged older chimp females

Nov
26
2006

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.