Sexually coercive male chimpanzees sire more offspring.


In sexually reproducing animals, male and female reproductive strategies often conflict. In some species, males use aggression to overcome female choice, but debate persists over the extent to which this strategy is successful. Previous studies of male aggression toward females among wild chimpanzees have yielded contradictory results about the relationship between aggression and mating behavior. Critically, however, copulation frequency in primates is not always predictive of reproductive success. We analyzed a 17-year sample of behavioral and genetic data from the Kasekela chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) community in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, to test the hypothesis that male aggression toward females increases male reproductive success. We examined the effect of male aggression toward females during ovarian cycling, including periods when the females were sexually receptive (swollen) and periods when they were not. We found that, after controlling for confounding factors, male aggression during a female's swollen periods was positively correlated with copulation frequency. However, aggression toward swollen females was not predictive of paternity. Instead, aggression by high-ranking males toward females during their nonswollen periods was positively associated with likelihood of paternity. This indicates that long-term patterns of intimidation allow high-ranking males to increase their reproductive success, supporting the sexual coercion hypothesis. To our knowledge, this is the first study to present genetic evidence of sexual coercion as an adaptive strategy in a social mammal.





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Publication Info

Feldblum, J, E Wroblewski, R Rudicell, B Hahn, T Paiva, M Cetinkaya-Rundel, A Pusey, I Gilby, et al. (2014). Sexually coercive male chimpanzees sire more offspring. Curr Biol, 24(23). pp. 2855–2860. 10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.039 Retrieved from

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Joseph T. Feldblum

Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology

Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel

Professor of the Practice of Statistical Science

I am a Professor of the Practice and the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Department of Statistical Science and an affiliated faculty in the Computational Media, Arts, and Cultures program at Duke University. My work focuses on innovation in statistics and data science pedagogy, with an emphasis on computing, reproducible research, student-centered learning, and open-source education. I work on integrating computation into the undergraduate statistics curriculum, using reproducible research methodologies and analysis of real and complex datasets.

I am an educator who is passionate about meeting learners where they are and understanding how they learn so that I can build better resources, pedagogy, and tooling to support their learning. My main teaching and research interest is statistics and data science education, particularly using R. I have been at Duke University since 2011 and I had a brief stint at the University of Edinburgh in 2019-2021. Prior to Duke, I received my PhD in Statistics at UCLA in 2011, under the advisement of Jan de Leeuw, and my BS in Actuarial Science at NYU’s Stern School of Business in 2004. In between undergraduate and graduate degrees, I worked as a consulting actuary for two years in New York.

Statistical Science at Duke

You can find out everything you need to know about majoring in Statistical Science at Duke here. If you would like to meet to discuss degree options in the department, you can book a time to meet with me here or send an email to

Statistics and data science education

I primarily work on developing open-educational resources and software for modern statistics and data science education as well as pedagogies for enhancing the student experience in data science and statistics courses. I also work on research projects that aim to assess the effectiveness of these approaches with respect to learning and retention. My computing language of choice is R, though I’m always interested in learning about how educators teaching different languages approach the same challenges. At any given point I have numerous projects active in this area. If you’re a student wanting to work with me or a potential collaborator, I’d love to hear from you.

Open educational resources

I believe in building open-source, open-access resources for education. I have co-authored four open-source statistics textbooks as part of the OpenIntro project at the introductory college and advanced high school level. I am also the creator and maintainer of Data Science in a Box and I have been developing and teaching various massive open online courses, including the popular Statistics with R specialization on Coursera. Materials for all courses and workshops I’ve taught are also openly licensed. You can find them on my teaching page.

ASA DataFest

I co-lead the international effort for putting on ASA DataFest, a two-day competition in which teams of undergraduate students work to reveal insights into a rich and complex data set, annually at over fifty institutions across the globe.

Consulting and training

I enjoy working with research and industry teams on solving challenges (particularly those related to R) and providing training. Previous talks and workshops I’ve delivered can be found here and here, respectively. If you’re interested in setting up a consulting or a training session with me, send me an email here.


Anne Pusey

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor Emerita of Evolutionary Anthropology

I have recently retired and am not taking on new students although I am continuing some research projects.  I am interested in understanding the evolution of sociality, social structure, and the patterns of competition, cooperation and social bonds in animal species, including humans. Most of my work has focused on social mammals: lions and chimpanzees. For the last twenty five years I have worked almost exclusively on the long term Gombe chimpanzee project. I have gathered the data from this study into an archive, currently housed at Duke, and I oversee the computerization of systematically collected daily data, incorporating this and related material into a relational database. I also advise on the ongoing field study at Gombe. Combined analysis of the long-term data and focused new data collection in the field enables study of a wide variety of questions. Current projects in my research group include studies of female social relationships and female settlement patterns. We also participate in collaborative work with colleagues at a number of other institutions on studies of life history, personality, and health, including studying the natural history of SIVcpz.

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