Read these books by Jane Goodall in order: In the Shadow of Man and Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe. These books were what led me to think of the co-alpha concept. Somehow it seems easier for people to look objectively at behavior when looking at another species, and this is the big advantage of looking at chimps. Talking about the behavioral differences of men and women is not socially acceptable, but talking about the behavioral differences of male and female chimps is considered perfectly acceptable. The fact is that humans aren't all that different from chimps, certainly much less different than most people believe. Another big advantage is that chimps are not affected by world culture. They don't watch TV and act as TV tells them to act. So in some ways, chimps may actually behave more like "natural" humans than modern people do.
Besides all this, these are great books, very well written. You will enjoy reading them and you will learn a lot.
I just finished reading these yesterday. Good books.
But I dont see how you derived the co-alpha concept from here. Or if the idea of Omega males (and seduction) you talk about was in it?
I was expecting that the bottom ranking males would have some behaviours that the female chimps liked so they (the females) would want to actively copulate with them. I don't think there was much of that.
The female chimps seemed to be very open to mating with just about any male (which is not the case with humans). If anything, the selection pressure seemed to be the top ranking males having choice with whom to take as a consort, or preventing a low ranking male from having his share during...er...orgies (which I think is, at least partially, the case with humans).
1)In the first book, there were two brothers who took a female as a consort (at different times). Consorting wasn't mentioned much in that book, so I started wondering if the preference for consorting rather than orgies was genetic with them. However consorting was mentioned a lot in the second, and I didn't read Goodall pointing out anything in that context. So I don't know.
2) All the males set out to dominate ALL the females before tackling the male hierarchy. So all females were subservient to all (adult) males. This must be significant in many ways, but Im not sure exactly how (or what would happen if one failed).
It has been a long time since I read these books, but I will tell you what I remember and you can correct me if I am wrong.
What is rather unique about chimps is the idea that the alpha rises to the top by forming alliances. So the alpha doesn't need to be the strongest. He just needs to have strong followers. The followers get all kinds of rights from the alpha in return. This is very different from most mammals where the strongest is the alpha. Since the chimp alpha has to share power to some degree with his followers, it isn't a big leap to imagine the co-alpha strategy. Chimps certainly aren't co-alpha, but they are a step in that direction. Most human societies aren't co-alpha either, but one can see varying degrees of power-sharing in human societies with the extreme case being no dominant alpha and power sharing among men.
Chimps are promiscuous but one can see the first step in the direction of monogamy with chimp consorts. I don't remember examples in the books of an alpha doing a consort, and this would make little sense. It was the other males who went on consorts.
The author is a woman, so she is blind to the issue of males failing to mate and her reports seem contradictory on this. On the one hand, she seemed to indicate the females are open to mating with anyone when fertile. But on the other hand, she did mention some low ranking males who failed to mate. My interpretation is that the restrictions on mating were mostly placed there by the dominant alpha and his followers. The lower ranking males simply weren't allowed near fertile females as far as I remember. I also seem to remember a lower ranking male attempting to take a female on a consort to get around this, with higher ranking males attempting to block this. If the female didn't want to go on the consort, it was hard to force her, so convincing her was key to this strategy. So this seems to support the omega approach I mentioned, but I think I got this idea from elsewhere, not these books. I know this omega approach is common in polygamous mammals where a few males are alphas with harems and the rest of the males try to poach mating opportunities. What I remember of Goodall's books seems to fit with this.