Diet and Reproductive Function in Wild Female Chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes Schweinfurthii)at Kibale National Park, Uganda
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CitationThompson, Melissa Emery, and Richard W. Wrangham. 2008. Diet and reproductive function in wild female chimpanzees (pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) at Kibale National Park, Uganda. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 135(2): 171-181.
AbstractHuman female reproductive function is highly sensitive to current energetic condition, indicating adaptation to modulate reproductive effort in accordance with changing ecological conditions that might favor or disfavor the production of offspring. Here, we test the
hypothesis that reproductive capacity in female chimpanzees is likewise limited by current energetic condition. We used 12 years of data on wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in the Kanyawara community of Kibale National Park, Uganda, to examine the relationship of dietary quality, as assessed by fruit components of the diet, to the occurrence of sexually receptive females, concentrations of ovarian steroid hormones, and timing of conception. We found that the frequency of females having sexual swellings was positively related to the consumption of drupe fruits. Estrogen levels of both cycling and noncycling females increased during seasonal peaks in the consumption of drupe fruits. When average fruit consumption remained high across months, females conceived more quickly. These results support the hypothesis that cycling and conception in chimpanzees are contingent upon high energy balance, and they indicate that the availability of fruit is a key variable limiting reproductive performance in chimpanzees. Chimpanzees appear to share with humans a reproductive system that is primed to respond to proximate levels of energy acquisition.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3693701
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