Mother-infant interactions in captive and wild chimpanzees

Misato Hayashi, Tetsuro Matsuzawa
DOI: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2016.11.008


We review studies on mother–infant interactions in chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, in captive and wild environments. Infant cognitive development is formed through mother–infant interactions during the long dependent period, which is approximately 5 years. Patterns of interaction between mothers and infants are different from those observed in adult chimpanzees. Mother–infant interactions are relatively altruistic, although solicitation by infants is almost always required. Active teaching has rarely been reported in chimpanzees; instead, infants socially learn new skills through long-term observation. Case studies describing rearing of a disabled infant by a multiparous but inexperienced chimpanzee, and the carrying of dead infants in the wild chimpanzees of Bossou reveal the strong affectionate bond between mothers and infants. Characteristics of human mother–infant interaction are highlighted through comparisons with chimpanzees.

Article Information
Hayashi M, Matsuzawa T(2017)Mother-infant interactions in captive and wild chimpanzees Infant Behavior and Development, Volume 48, Part A, Pages 20-29.