Gomes and co-author Christophe Boesch observed all of this while studying wild chimpanzees in the Tai National Park at the Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa. The chimp group — consisting of 49 individuals total — included five adult males and 14 adult females, which were the focus of the study published in the latest PLoS One.
The researchers recorded 262 male to female meat transfers, with the meat mostly coming from red colobus monkeys. Chimps also kill other types of monkeys, duikers and small mammals.
Gomes and Boesch collected data on matings, observing the same number — 262 — during times when females were in estrous. The scientists noted that males would share with all types of females, whether in estrous or not, although the former received preference.
"After all," Gomes said, "males double their mating success by sharing meat with females, and this is a potentially enormous benefit."
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