Missy & Negra

September 13th, 2017 by Anna

Yesterday during breakfast, volunteer Jake and I watched Missy build an elaborate nest out of blankets and a hanging fire hose which she wove around her blankets in a tight circle. Just as Missy was putting the final touches to her bed, Negra approached with her chow bags in hand and promptly took over Missy’s nest to enjoy the last bit of her breakfast. Missy didn’t bat an eye and quickly moved out of the way for Negra. While to us humans this would seem like an incredibly rude thing to do, this sort of displacement is common in relationships between dominant and subordinate chimpanzees. Missy and Negra have an agreement that when Negra wants something that Missy has, she is going to get it. Missy is very relationship savvy and she very rarely complains when Negra takes things from her (most commonly her primate chow bags). I think there are also some constraints to their agreement, as Missy willingly gives up things that don’t mean that much to her, and Negra knows she can easily take things that Missy isn’t too attached to. This relationship seems to suit them both just fine.

Missy (on a different day, building a similar nest)

Negra (on a different day, napping in a similar nest)

6 Responses to “Missy & Negra”

  1. Barb says:

    How sweet!

  2. Kathleen says:

    Very interesting. Sounds just like human siblings!

    Just curious, has Negra ever tried to take something from Missy that was something Missy did not want to relinquish? Something with meaning or value to Missy? Or do they play their “take and give” game only within the rules of their politics!?

    • Anna says:

      I once watched a party where Negra missed out on getting coconut (she loves coconut). Negra was really upset and went up to Missy looking for payment, but Missy didn’t want to give up her treasure. This started a screaming match between multiple parties and eventually when the dust settled Negra had some coconut (probably dropped in all the chaos). These sorts of events are what cause a lot of the disagreements around here, although they are often involving Jamie.

  3. Francoise Vulpe says:

    So the question is, did Missy get her nest back, later?