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Comparisons of development and life history in Pan and Cebus

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  • Psychology


We examined growth and development in capuchins and chimpanzees in relation to weaning, onset of reproduction, and reproductive life span. Striking differences are evident in neurobehavioral status at birth (more mature in capuchins), the relative duration of infancy (longer in chimpanzees), and the proportional weight of the infant at the time of weaning (greater in capuchins). Although capuchins and chimpanzees spend a similar proportion of life in a weaned but reproductively immature state, chimpanzees spend so much more of their lives as nursing infants that reproductive output per individual is much lower than in capuchins. Discussion centers around tolerated transfers of food (food-sharing) as a potential adaptation to limited foraging success by immature foragers. Perhaps food transfers from adult to infant, which is a more prominent feature of behavior in chimpanzees than in capuchins in natural environments, allow a very small weanling chimpanzee to survive.

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