Reconciliation and post-conflict third-party affiliation among wild chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains, Tanzania

Primates. 2004 Jul;45(3):157-65. doi: 10.1007/s10329-004-0082-z. Epub 2004 Apr 28.


This study investigated post-conflict (PC) behavior among wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) of the M-group in the Mahale Mountains, Tanzania, and examined what types of behavior characterize the PC situation in this group, and the factors that influence the occurrence of PC affiliation between opponents soon after the end of an aggressive conflict (i.e., reconciliation). We found that the opponents affiliated selectively soon after the end of aggression, suggesting that reconciliation occurred in this group. The mean individual corrected conciliatory tendency (CCT) (Veenema et al. 1994 in Behav Proc 31:29-38) was 14.4%, which is similar to or lower than frequencies observed in studies of captive and wild chimpanzees. The valuable relationship hypothesis predicts that the CCT is higher among individuals who share valuable relationships (e.g., males or affiliative dyads) than among individuals who do not (e.g., females or less-associative dyads). However, the analysis based on data for aggression between unrelated individuals (including one incident between an adult and non-adult) and aggression between unrelated adults, did not uncover this difference. Affiliation by a previously uninvolved individual with the victim ("consolation") and with the aggressor ("appeasement") occurred more frequently following aggression than in the control condition. The results are compared with previous studies of captive and wild chimpanzees.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agonistic Behavior*
  • Animals
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Observation
  • Pan troglodytes / psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Behavior*
  • Tanzania
  • Time Factors