Male mountain gorillas, who pay attention to offspring, whether they are their own or those of others, have greater success with females. According to Scientific Reports, these gorillas are more likely to have 5.6 times more descendants in their lives than those who are not so “paternal”.
Normally, male mammals do not help females with their young. An exception, among others, are the gorillas, who tend to play and clean their young. The reasons for this are several: because in this way they increase their chances of survival, or this behavior increases their mating possibilities.
American and German researchers decided to find out the motivation of the most “paternal” males and for this, they studied the behavior of the mountain gorillas. These primates often live in groups consisting of one male and several females with offspring, but about 40% of the groups include several males. The majority of the offspring of the group are descendants of the dominant male.
The advantage of taking care of the kids
The authors analyzed the behavior of the males of the three groups of mountain gorillas that live in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and also sequenced the DNA of the feces of the animals to determine the relationship of the males and the offspring.
As a result, the scientists constructed a mathematical model in which they took into account the age and range of the male, their behavior and calculated how many offspring they will have during their life.
It turned out that females prefer males that take care of little ones or, at least, tolerate them. The males that paid attention to the offspring, regardless of whether they were their own or those of others, had offspring 5.6 times more often than those less “paternal”.
On the other hand, an article states that friendly chimpanzee males live longer than their aggressive and bad-tempered counterparts. In addition, audacious animals live less than their shy counterparts, but at the same time leave more descendants. The increase in aggressiveness, the lower social activity or opening to new experiences are also associated with a shorter life. In the case of chimpanzee females, openness to new experiences is important, although to a lesser extent.