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Social network analysis is a widely applied tool to study the social organization of different species. Only few studies have investigated social network changes over time. A previous study of the North Group chimpanzees in Taï National Park indicated network structure changes with decreasing community size. We investigated how two natural ‘knockouts’, i.e. sudden large-scale declines in community size, affected association networks. Network dynamics following the 1992 knockout, during which eight individuals died, showed a delayed response: in the first months, association rates were lower than expected, and only after seven months did they converge to expected community-size–specific level. In contrast, network dynamics following the 1994 knockout, during which 12 individuals died, showed no deviation from expected community-size–specific levels. Thus, chimpanzee association networks can react differently to large-scale declines in community size. Differences might be related to the identity of deceased individuals and knockout amplitude. The patterns of observed changes did not support the idea that large-scale knockouts lead to strong disturbances of chimpanzee communities.
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