It has come to my attention that the group of 16 chimpanzees previously ruled by Paddy has a new leader. It is now referred to as Cindy's group....which means the now 39 near old Cindy, second oldest female in the community, has risen to take charge of the whole group...atleast for the time being. As I'm sure we all know by now, chimpanzees live in a patriarchal society where males are the dominant sex and take charge, therefore a group is usually led by a male. The exception to this rule is if there are no males old enough or bold enough to take charge and it falls to the top ranking female instead. Females do play a big role too in chimpanzee politics considering that it is they whose support any male needs to not only acquire the top spot but also retain it. A female in charge would make much difference to the dynamics of a group, that she may lack the brawn of a male to discipline troublemakers. She can still put on impressive dominance displays and rely on the support of her female friends. In the case of Cindy, she rose to power most probably because of her previous long term bond with the deceased alpha. She was already high ranking for years, but had to compete for the top spot in the female hierarchy with the likes of Beth and Bixa (the oldest primate at the park at the age of 40 now by the way). I always assumed Beth was the top female...but there have been alot of mixed opinions about this with Bixa sometimes identified as the highest ranking. But now, it seems the fun, naughty Cindy has taken the top spot. She is neither the oldest nor the largest female, therefore she must have taken charge with the support from the other females rather than bullying her way to the top. At 39 she is still in her prime, lots of experience and even though she may not be able to do some of the things that a male does she will still be a figure of reassurance, comfort to the others and is well familiar with handling politics, and this makes her 'qualified' to lead the way for the remaining individuals, especially the younger female Eddi. This is not to say that there will never be a male to lead this group..as since Busta hasn't stepped up it looks like Bart may be the one but at only 10 (he'll be 11 in July) he still has at least another 9 years to go before big enough to take charge. Until then its queen Cindy at the top!