When it comes to mating, male chimpanzees have the opposite taste when compared to the males of one of their nearest biological species, human beings, according to a study published Tuesday.
Unlike human males who prefer younger mates, male chimpanzees like older females and turn up their nose at younger ones. The observation was reported in the journal, Current Biology, based on studies of a group of Kanyawara chimpanzees in Uganda's Kibale National Park in East Africa.
The team lead by Martin Muller of Boston University, which includes several Harvard researchers, found that older females were more often the objects of rivalries between male chimps than younger females.
The male chimps also approached older females more often to mate in the fertile female cycles. Even the high-ranking males sought older female chimps, the report said.
Muller and his team said one possibility for the difference was the lifelong mating, common among human beings, where a woman's "sexual attractiveness generally peaks before motherhood and declines with age", according to a synopsis of the article.
Human males prefer the younger mate because of the biological limitations on fertility triggered by menopause, while female chimps do not have such limits, remaining fertile their entire lives.
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