Parochial cooperation in wild chimpanzees: a model to explain the evolution of parochial altruism

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Lemoine, Sylvain RT  ORCID logo
Samuni, Liran 
Crockford, Catherine 

jats:p Parochial altruism, taking individual costs to benefit the in-group and harm the out-group, has been proposed as one of the mechanisms underlying the human ability of large-scale cooperation. How parochial altruism has evolved remains unclear. In this review paper, we formulate a parochial cooperation model in small-scale groups and examine the model in wild chimpanzees. As suggested for human parochial altruism, we review evidence that the oxytocinergic system and in-group cooperation and cohesion during out-group threat are integral parts of chimpanzee collective action during intergroup competition. We expand this model by suggesting that chimpanzee parochial cooperation is supported by the social structure of chimpanzee groups which enables repeated interaction history and established social ties between co-operators. We discuss in detail the role of the oxytocinergic system in supporting parochial cooperation, a pathway that appears integral already in chimpanzees. The reviewed evidence suggests that prerequisites of human parochial altruism were probably present in the last common ancestor between jats:italicPan</jats:italic> and jats:italicHomo</jats:italic> . </jats:p> jats:pThis article is part of the theme issue ‘Intergroup conflict across taxa’.</jats:p>


Funder: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft; Id:

ARTICLES, Review articles, human evolution, primates, social ties, oxytocin, in-group out-group, parochial cooperation model
Journal Title
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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The Royal Society