September 15, 2006

Wild chimp crossing guards

Check out this video of an alpha male chimp helping his crew to cross the road.

Dominant males walk ahead of their groups and assess the risks of crossing a road before signaling for the rest to move ahead. Other alpha males bring up the rear to protect adult females and the young positioned in the more protected middle areas.

This observation, as reported in the September edition of Current Biology, notes how at each crossing, the position of the stronger and bolder adult males changes depending on the degree of risk and the number of other strong males present in the group. According to the study, this suggests that dominant individuals coordinate with each other to maximize group protection.

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