Highly tactile, emotional beings, chimpanzees (Genus Pan) embrace, kiss, reach out with open palms for reassurance, or touch other chimps back to give it. On meeting, chimps sometimes kiss, and youngsters frequently embrace and carry infants around. Adults also embrace to show solidarity when excited or frightened, especially during conflicts. Infant chimps are in close physical contact with their mothers for their first five years. A mother grooms her offspring during the early years, and older youngsters learn to return the favor. Much of their time is spent on grooming, which plays a key role in communication (its function is often compared with that of human gossip). Grooming may occur in pairs or groups, and reveals a lot about the relationships between individuals. Low-ranking chimpanzees frequently groom those of higher rank to appease them, and the dominant alpha male is usually at the hub of a grooming group. Grooming is also a way in which males establish political coalitions- the alpha male may even groom allies to win support. Photo by jenmartin.
Photo by: Me
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