Influence of ecological and social factors on body mass of wild chimpanzees

A. E. Pusey, Gary W Oehlert, J. M. Williams, J. Goodall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


The chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of Gombe National Park, Tanzania, were weighed regularly over a period of 33 yr, resulting in 1286 measurements on 31 males and 26 females aged 2-43 yr. Female growth slowed at 10 yr and that of males at 13 yr. Median adult body mass is 39 kg for males and 31.3 kg for females. Body mass varied between years. Chimpanzees were heaviest during a period of frequent banana provisioning. They were also heavier when community range size was large and population density within the range was low. Chimpanzees were heavier in the wet than in the dry season and body mass tracked rainfall in the preceding mo except for May in which mass was anomalously low. Dominance rank is significantly correlated with body mass for females but not males. High-ranking individuals tended to maintain more stable mass. Variability in body mass was greater for young and old individuals than for prime adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-31
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005


  • Body mass
  • Chimpanzee
  • Dominance rank
  • Growth
  • Population density
  • Pregnancy
  • Range size
  • Seasonal changes
  • Sexual dimorphism

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