Daughters of influential chimpanzee mothers stay with their own groups for longer, while they normally 'leave home' to reproduce. American primatologists write that in the scientific journal Current Biology .
In chimpanzees the males continue to live in the groups where they were born, while the females 'leave home'. Leaving one's own group is risky. The chimpanzees are on their own and when they find a new group, they start at the very bottom of the social ladder.
However, when the females have a mother who is high in the hierarchy of the group, they prefer to stay in this group.
A possible reason that important mothers are beneficial is, for example, that they help with food searching and give access to better places to scrape a meal together.
Living at home creates a risk of inbreeding
Staying with their mother does, however, pose a high risk for chimpanzees: they may have children with their own brothers.
If a chimpanzee has many brothers, it is more likely that the animal will leave home. This is to prevent inbreeding. Inbreeding among monkeys is often avoided, but that does not prevent it from happening.
The risk of this is apparently less important for some chimpanzees than the support their mother can give.
The conclusion is based on 45 years of observations of 31 female chimpanzees in the Gombe National Park in Tanzania. The females were followed from dawn to dusk.