Chimpanzees give each other really sweet greetings after they’ve been separated for some amount of time. Jody spent all afternoon on the hill yesterday by herself, and when she started heading back Annie was getting pretty excited. I didn’t catch a very long video, but I did get a quick snippet of Annie’s sweet greeting with Jody. I wanted to include some explanations of Annie’s greeting behaviors, so you may have to watch the video twice!
Typically less-dominant individuals greet more-dominant members of a group. Although Jody isn’t the leader, she is more dominant than Annie (although Annie is definitely asserting herself and has much more confidence these days than she did when they first arrived). In the video, you’ll see Annie bipedally (up on her feet) swagger with her hair standing on end (pilo erect). These behaviors are indicative of a high arousal state, basically meaning she’s excited. Then you’ll see her crouch down and run toward Jody. The crouching down is a sign of submission, and it shows Annie’s respect for Jody. When she contacts Jody she gives her a hug and simultaneously offers an open mouth kiss (it’s hard to see, but that is what she’s doing!) And finally as they head back into the greenhouse together, Annie dabs Jody’s back.
Even though this all occurred in just 15 seconds or so, there’s a lot of communication going on! Chimpanzees are really amazing and complex beings.