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Grooming

During times of relaxation, a chimpanzee may often be found grooming another chimpanzee or its own hair. The most obvious function is the removal of pieces of debris from soil and vegetation and dried skin from hair. The chimpanzee uses one hand to hold the hair back while the other hand, lips, or teeth are used to pick out and remove the small pieces of debris.

Grooming is also used to relax tension from threats and aggression. It helps to maintain friendly ties among family and community members and to lessen the stress of infants during weaning. A chimpanzee may request or solicit grooming by approaching another chimpanzee and getting their attention by presenting a part of its body for grooming. It may scratch itself or start to groom itself. Grooming is a very important social and skin care behavior. A grooming session may include several individuals of varying ages and continue for a few seconds, minutes, or hours.

 

Captive Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees groom themselves and each other in zoos in the same manner as wild chimpanzees. Like wild chimpanzees, captive chimpanzees find a number of places in their environment to groom. Zoo chimpanzees often perform this comforting and soothing behavior while sitting or lying high among the tall support structures of their indoor habitats or lying precariously on rock formations or in the grass out doors. Likewise, wild chimpanzees choose to groom while sitting in a grassy area, on rock formations or high in a tree.

Mothers groom fussy temperamental infants being weaned from nursing against their wishes. Females relaxing outside on a hot day find a shady spot to spend long periods of time grooming. On occasion, it appears the entire social group is engaged in a friendly, comforting social encounter grooming each other.


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Chimpanzees Living in Zoos
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Infancy and Childhood
5.
Chimpanzee Adolescence and Gender Specific Roles
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The Importance of Mothering
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Mothering and Play
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Play
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Depression
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Dominance Displays
11.
Submission
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Contact
13.
Grooming
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Food
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Territorial Behavior
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Chimpanzees Are a Lot Like Us
17.
Communication
18.
Chimpanzees Are Individuals
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Mike's Ingenious Idea
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Mike (1938-1975)
21.
Mike the Alpha Male
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The Human Threat to Wild Chimpanzees
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Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE
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The Jane Goodall Institute
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26. Bibliography

 

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