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Female chimps don't stray in mate search

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10:27am, October 24, 2001

Wild chimpanzees' mating habits aren't nearly as wild as scientists had suspected, at least not according to the latest genetic analysis of chimps living in three western African communities.

Females don't have frequent mating flings outside those groups, as earlier genetic data suggested, contends a team led by geneticist Linda Vigilant and anthropologist Christophe Boesch, both of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Moreover, although adult males live their whole lives in the same community and form strong alliances with one another, they're no more closely related genetically than are their adult-female peers, which emigrate into new communities upon reaching maturity, the researchers say.

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