This afternoon, Negra was sleeping peacefully outside when all hell broke loose in the playroom. But she seemed to know right away that it was just your typical skirmish…nothing worth getting excited about. So she let out a sympathetic pant hoot and went back to bed.
Could it have been a “do not disturb” pant-hoot? Ah to feel secure enough to not have to get involved in whatever was going on! As usual, a great series of “you are there” pics. Thanks!!!!
Margaret and Karen says
Negra has her priorities right!
Sara Lissabet says
Her expression says it all. She was saying “hey, quiet out there – I’m taking my nap!”
Where does Negra rank in the group? Is she the highest ranking female, or is she like an “emeritus” alpha female?
MS – That’s a good question. Primate social hierarchies are much more complex than they seem. Primatologists look at things like access to food, access to mates, ability to physically displace others, who grooms who and for how long, and so on. But when you look at these things all together, it doesn’t create a neat vertical hierarchy, like the “ladder” analogy that is so often used. Some chimps are dominant in some areas and not others, or their dominance is context-dependent, meaning it depends on the setting and who else is around.
In this group, Jamie would come out clearly on top in most categories. She is intensely focused on social standing. In fact, I think she often steals food from the other chimps, not because she wants to eat it, but because she wants to reinforce her dominance over the other individual.
Not to go too far off on a tangent, but there has been some research that shows that dominant individuals sometimes win fewer resources (e.g., food, mating opportunities) than slightly lower ranking members of the group because they spend so much time working on being dominant! That seems like Jamie to me – for her, dominance is not a means to an end, but an end in and of itself.
Negra, on the other hand, is more focused on what she wants in life. She is well respected by the other chimps, but I doubt that she would ever have been an alpha female. She just doesn’t seem to have the personality for it. In most of the categories used to assess dominance, I would say that Negra falls somewhere in the middle, though we have never studied this scientifically.
I think Negra is on to something. By being in the middle, you get 95% of the things you want, and you don’t waste your time and energy struggling to win that measly extra 5%. Hmmmm…maybe we could raise funds by writing self-help books based on the Cle Elum Seven! Don’t worry, I promise we won’t.
I find all the 7 interesting, but there’s just something about Negra….
Thanks for the great information, J.B. I love learning about chimp behavior. Negra reminds me a bit of myself. Once you reach a certain age, arguing and confrontation aren’t worth the trouble and stress. I just want peace…lol.
Negra’s expression is priceless and so human. It’s clear she was telling everyone to pipe down so she could rest in peace. I know just how you feel Negra girl!
Jeani Goodrich says
Great Negra series. Thanks for the info JB. I agree I’d rather be in the middle and able to not care about the minor incidents but get what I wanted. These 7 I think have a lot we could learn. JB, you might be onto something… The Little Book of How To Get What You Want Out of Life Without Getting Your Knickers in a Knot!