Maternal kinship is important in primate societies because it affects individual behaviour as well as the sustainability of populations. All members of the Bossou chimpanzee community are descended from 8 individuals (herein referred to as original adults) who were already adults or subadults when field observations were initiated in 1976 and whose genetic relationships were unknown. Sequencing of the control region on the maternally inherited mtDNA revealed that 4 (1 male and 3 females) of the 8 original adults shared an identical haplotype. We investigated the effects of the skewed distribution of mtDNA haplotypes on the following two outcomes. First, we demonstrated that the probability of mtDNA haplotype extinction would be increased under such a skewed composition in a small community. Second, the ratio of potential mating candidates to competitors is likely to decrease if chimpanzees become aware of maternal kinship and avoid incest. We estimated that the magnitude of the decrease in the ratio is 10 times greater in males than in females. Here we demonstrate a scenario in which this matrilineal skewness in a small community accelerates extinction of mtDNA haplotype, which will make it more difficult to find a suitable mate within the community.

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