Chimpanzee physiology

The Kibale Chimpanzee Project has conducted continuous, non-invasive monitoring of the Kanyawara chimpanzees since 1997. Thousands of urine and fecal samples have been collected from both male and female chimpanzees, and varying numbers of these have been assayed for testosterone, cortisol, estrogen, and C-peptide. Our project has played a leading role in the field of primate socioendocrinology, by employing endocrine assays not simply to describe variation in hormone levels, but to complement behavioral observations and to test hypotheses about physiology and behavior. Current research questions include:

  • What are the physiological costs of aggression for males and females?
  • What are the relative costs of dominance and subordinance for both sexes?
  • How do longitudinal changes in androgen production relate to behavior and dominance status?
  • How do fluctuations in fruit availability affect health and reproductive function?