Wed, Dec 7, 2016 | updated 11:49 PM IST

Male chimps spends time in grooming offspring: Study

Updated: Nov 09, 2016 13:27 IST

Washington D.C. [USA] Nov. 9(ANI): A recent study has found that male chimpanzees are more concerned about their own offspring than previously thought.

The research suggested that the male, associated with mothers of their offspring early in infancy and interacted with their infants more than expected.

The study comes on the backdrop of question that whether male chimpanzees could recognize their offspring.

Because males spending time with nursing mothers did not increase the likelihood that they would be the father of that mother's next infant, the findings support the paternal effort hypothesis, in which males associate more with mothers in order to protect their offspring, rather than curry favor with the female.

The research contributes to the broader anthropological question of why human fathers invest so much in offspring.

Using more than 25 years of behavioral data, the researchers examined patterns based on 17 father chimpanzees and 49 mother-infant pairs to see if the males could recognize their offspring and if the male's behavior was different around them.

"As anthropologists, we want to understand what patterns could have existed early in human evolution that help explain how human behavior evolved," said Carson Murray, "This research suggests that males may sometimes prioritize relationships with their offspring rather than with potential mates. For a species without pair-bonds where it was assumed fathers didn't know which infants were their own, this is an important finding."

The significance of the finding lies in the evidence that chimpanzees, one of human's closest living relatives, not only have paternal recognition but also invested in offspring rather than only focusing on future mating effort. The researchers found the males would spend time grooming and caring for their offspring.

"Our findings are not only further evidence that chimpanzee fathers recognize their offspring in a promiscuous species, but also that fathers behave differently around their offspring," said Margaret Stanto.

The study has been published in the Royal Society Open Science journal.(ANI)