Fights are really common among chimpanzees. Being a caregiver you get used to the intense screaming, which often occurs even during fights with no contact between participants. You also know by the sounds when things have escalated. There was a conflict about a week ago which resulted in some minor bite wounds between Foxie and Burrito. After a brief squabble this afternoon, this pair spent a lot of time grooming each other.
The wounds were the initial focus of the grooming – chimps will closely inspect injuries on themselves and each other and clean them up by removing debris. So, grooming is good for their physical health. It’s also important for the social health of the group. The act of grooming is the chimpanzee way of healing and strengthening bonds. (For more on fighting and making up, see also J.B.’s post Conflict and Reassurance with amazing photos of a reassurance hug between Burrito and Foxie from May 4th).
Foxie grooming Burrito
sometimes grooming turns into playing – another great way to strengthen social bonds