The most striking single fact about chimpanzees is the flexibility of their social life, the lack of any rigid form of organization. It represents about as far a departure from the baboon type of organization as one can find among the higher primates, and serves to emphasize the great variety of primate adaptations. Chimpanzees are more human than baboons, or rather they jibe better with the way we like to picture ourselves, as free-wheeling individuals who tend to be unpredictable, do not take readily to any form of regimentation, and are frequently charming. (Charm is relatively rare among baboons.) Two researchers have described what they found during more than eight months spent among chimpanzees in their natural habitat the forest:”We were quite surprised to observe that there is no single distinct social unit in chimpanzee society. Not only is there no ‘family’ or ‘harem’ organization; neither is there a ‘troop’ organization – that is to say, no particular chimpanzees keep permanently together. On the contrary, individuals move about at will, alone or in small groups best described as bands, which sometimes form into large aggregations.
They leave their associates if they want to, and join up with new ones without conflict. ” The general practice is best described as “easy come, easy go”, although there are certain group-forming tendencies. As a rule chimpanzees move about in one of four types of band: adult males only; mothers and offspring and occasionally a few other females; adults and adolescents of both sexes, but no mothers with young and representatives of all categories mixed together. The composition of bands may change a number of times during the course of a day as individuals wander off and groups split or combine with other groups. On the other hand, certain individuals prefer one another’s company. One of the researchers observed that four males often roamed together over a four-month period, and mothers often associated with their older offsprings.
黑猩猩最突出的一个特征是它们社会生活的灵活性，即缺乏固定的组织形式。 它的这一特征与狒狒的那种组织形态间的差别，在灵长动物中最为突出。 由此可见灵长类动物中适应性变化的多样性。 黑猩猩比狒狒更接近人类，或者说它与我们心愿的自我形象更为接近：自由自在，不落窠臼，不喜欢任何形式的约束并且往往魅力十足(在狒狒中魅力比较罕见)。 通过在黑猩猩的自然栖息地森林中对它们进行了8个月的观察，两名研究人员得出这样结论：”我们注意到在黑猩猩的社会中似乎没有任何一种独立的社会基本单位，这一点令我们很吃惊。 它们不仅没有’家庭’或’妻妾’组织，也没有’团队’组织，也就是说黑猩猩没有固定地生活在一起。 相反，每只黑猩猩随意流动，或是独自一人，或是作为最好称之为团伙的一员。 团伙有时会与其它团伙合并成大的聚合体。
它们可以随意离开同伴，并与其它黑猩猩组成新的团伙而不会产生任何纠纷。”把黑猩猩这一总的特性称之为”来得容易去得快”是最恰当不过了。 但它们也有一定的群体倾向性。 通常，黑猩猩群的构成有以下4种：仅有成年雄性； 母猩猩及其子女而且偶尔有几只其它的雌性猩猩； 雄性和雌性的成年和未成年黑猩猩但不包括有子女的雌性黑猩猩； 以及各种类型混杂在一起。 一天之中一个团伙的组成可能变化好几次，因为有的成员可能离开，而且群体可能会与其它群体合并。 另一方面，有些黑猩猩有自己喜欢的伙伴。 一名研究人员发现四只雄性黑猩猩在4个月中常常共同游荡，还有母亲们常与她们较年长的子女们在一起。