The Crop Raiders of Bossou

From Science:

Monkey For chimpanzees living next to the West African village of Bossou, Guinea, scoring papayas can also mean scoring a mate. That’s one conclusion of a 3-year study that followed Bossou’s adult males as they staged daring raids on crops and then used the plundered foods to woo females. According to the authors, the crops-for-sex strategy has never been recorded outside of Bossou, and it provides further evidence of an evolutionary basis for the seductive power of male bravado.

“We believe the males may be using crop raids as a way to advertise their prowess, especially to the opposite sex,” explains Kimberley Hockings, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Stirling in the U.K. “It’s not just meat that can be used as social currency but any risky or difficult-to-obtain foods.” Bossou is one of six sites in Africa where long-term chimpanzee studies are being carried out, the oldest and most famous being Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park, where Jane Goodall first observed cooperative hunting and meat sharing in the early 1970s.

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