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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: November 2019

6 - Endocrinological analyses at Taï

Summary

A variety of studies have investigated endocrinological aspects of ecology, cooperation and immune system activation in Taï chimpanzees, making use of the ever-growing number of validated biomarkers used on non-invasive samples by the endocrinology laboratory at the MPI EVAN. In particular, the measurement of urinary oxytocin allows for insights into benefits of food-sharing, bonds and the potential physiological mechanism behind cooperation. Measures of urinary cortisol in combination with creatinine and C-peptide allow for the investigation of causes of seasonal variation in stress levels while patterns of immune system activation are monitored by the measurement of urinary neopterin. Future studies will profit from combined analysis of endocrine and immune parameters in relation to behaviour and reproductive success to investigate life-history trade-offs. Across-site comparisons of behaviour and endocrine patterns will help us to understand how variation in ecological and physiological parameters form the social setting of a population which leads to relatively low intergroup hostility, low leverage of males over females and relatively high levels of female sociality at Taï.

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