A recent study published in the journal PeerJ reveals that aggressive and bullying behavior can be an effective strategy for achieving power and siring offspring in male chimpanzees. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Duke University studied 28 male chimps living in Gombe National Park in Tanzania, with personality assessments conducted by Tanzanian field researchers who had observed their behavior for years. They found that chimps with high dominance and low conscientiousness tended to achieve higher status and reproductive success.
However, the existence of personality differences among chimps poses an evolutionary puzzle, as one would expect every male to adopt such personality traits if they lead to greater success. The team tested the theory that different traits are beneficial at different stages of life but found that the same traits were linked to high status and reproductive success across the lifespan. The researchers suggest that the diversity of personalities may be due to environmental or social factors or that certain traits that benefit males may be costly to females. The study adds to the growing body of evidence that animals have distinct personalities that remain consistent over time and across situations, challenging the previously held taboo of attributing personalities to animals.