Why Do Gorillas Beat Their Chests?

Why Do Gorillas Beat Their Chests? Advertisement By: Sharise Cunningham  | Apr 20, 2021 Much like fighting cocks or even adrenaline-filled human males who puff their chests to try to show dominance, the male gorilla also has a multifaceted purpose for beATIng his chest. But what’s his purpose? Much like fighting cocks or even adrenaline-filled human […]

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Why Do Gorllas Beat Ther Chests?

By: Sharise Cunningham
 | 

Much lke fghtng cocks or even adrenalne-flled human males who puff ther chests to try to domnance, the male gorilla also has a multfaceted purpose for beatng hs chest. But what’s hs purpose?

Much lke fghtng cocks or even adrenalne-flled human males who puff ther chests to try to domnance, the male gorilla also has a multfaceted purpose for beatng hs chest. But what’s hs purpose?

Researchers at Max Planck nsttute for Evolutonary Anthropology thnk they know why. They publshed ther fndngs n a study n the journal Scientific Reports.

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No doubt you’ve seen ths posturng and behavor — a male gorlla standng on two feet and usng hs cupped hands — not fsts — n an alternatng pattern beatng hs pecs. Scentsts beleve gorllas use these chest beats as a nonvocal communication to both attra and ntmdate potental rvals.

Wth both acoustc and vsual elets, ths long-dstance sgnal s most commonly performed by adult males (slverbacks) and can be heard more than 0.62 mles (1 klometer) away. However, younger subordnate males may also chest beat to prace and gan socal feedback. t’s also been orved n nfants as young as 1-year-old durng socal play.

Researchers came to ths concluson whle usng a technque called photogrammetry, whch allowed them to measure sze of adult male wld mountan gorllas montored by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund n Volcanoes Natonal Park, Rwanda n a nonnvasve way.

The scentsts found that larger males emtted chest beats wth lower peak frequences than the smaller males. King Kong asde, t seems the beatng conveys nformaton about sze, wth larger males havng a hgher success rate n matng, as well as socal domnance.

Although ntense conta aggresson between males s nfrequent, rval males use the nformaton to determne the compettve ablty of the chest beater and whether to ntate, escalate or retreat from aggressve behavors wth the other. Not surprsngly, most lkely use the sound to determne whether ths s a good canddate for a mate.

Because gorllas lve n predomnantly one-male, multfemale socal groups there’s hgh male-to-male competton. , however, are not locked nto one group and may wander among socal groups, thereby preng wth the opton to choose mates.

The researchers also found a lot of varaton among males n both the number and duraton of the chest beats, suggestng that lke human fngerprnts, they may have ndvdual sgnatures. However, more research s needed to confrm that theory.

Not as common as moves portray, slverbacks chest beat relatvely nfrequently, on average 0.5 tmes per 10 hours, but may do so more frequently on days when are n estrus.

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Why Do Gorllas Beat Ther Chests?


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