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Chimpanzees live in a multi-male social system; one of three main social grouping types recognised in primates. They have a relaxed form of this type of system, commonly referred to as a fission-fusion society. The fission-fusion system allows the community to disperse in smaller parties that constantly change in size and composition throughout the day. This allows them to group, regroup and separate during their daily quest to find food, to maintain social relationships and to protect their territory.

Adult cycling females, and more commonly adolescent females, show a strong tendency to disperse into the range of adjacent or non-adjacent communities (i.e communities/ populations other than their own that occur beyond their own community home range). They may leave their natal community permanently or temporarily when they are in oestrus, and are attracted to high-ranking males in neighbouring communities. Males remain in their natal group from birth until death, (but there are exceptions) or transfer with their mothers into neighbouring communities as juveniles. Dispersal may be influenced by the carrying capacity of the home range, distance to other communities, sex ratios, and the genetic structure of the population. Evidence suggests that females avoid mating with close relatives, which may also promote dispersal.