Behavioral Flexibility and Division of Roles in Chimpanzee Road-Crossing

  • Kimberley Jane Hockings
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series


Regularities in spatial patterns are a well-known occurrence in the animal kingdom; for example, during dangerous excursions certain positions may be more advantageous than others, depending upon age and sex. Road-crossing, a human-created challenge, presents chimpanzees with a situation that calls for flexibility of sociospatial and behavioral responses to variations in degree of risk, as measured by width of roads and vehicle and human traffic. When crossing roads, positions within the progressions were differentially assumed by individuals in ways that maximized group protection, with the dominant and bolder individuals tending either to be first to scan and cross the roads, or protective of others when they perceived possible hazards. Furthermore, the positioning of dominant and bolder individuals changes over time, and varies depending on both the degree of risk and the number of adult males present, promoting the likelihood that dominant individuals are acting cooperatively with a high level of flexibility.


Adult Male Alpha Male Party Size Small Road Progression Order 
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I am grateful to the Direction Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (DNRST) and the Institut de Recherche Environementale de Bossou (IREB), the Republic of Guinea, for granting permission to carry out this research. I wish to thank all the local assistants and Bossou villagers who helped during this research period. This work was supported by a Stirling University studentship, MEXT grant #16002001, and JSPS-HOPE.

Supplementary material

978-4-431-53921-6_24_MOESM1_ESM.wmv (6.9 mb)
Road Crossing - Kim Hocking (WMV file 7077 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Social and Human SciencesNew University of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyStirling UniversityStirlingUK

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