Kids teasing, taunting and bullying one another on the playground is nothing out of the ordinary, and the same goes for chimpanzees. And if any of these antics were to result in a confrontation, new research shows that those chimps with macho moms are more likely to win the fight.

And by macho moms, researchers mean those that are more highly ranked among the group, according to the study published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

During the 12-year study, a team at Duke University observed over 300 wild chimpanzees at Gombe National Park in western Tanzania.

"We wanted to find out what role moms play in helping young chimpanzees establish dominance within their groups," lead author Catherine Markham, an assistant professor at Stony Brook University, said in a press release.

In all, there were nearly 140 fights involving chimps under age 12, most of them non-siblings. Researchers determined the winner of each fight based on which chimp did most of the hitting, kicking, biting or chasing, and which one squealed, cried or ran away.

After their analysis, they realized that those chimps with higher-ranking moms prevailed the majority of the time.

You might think then that lower-ranking chimp moms could be classified as overprotective, classic helicopter parents, causing their offspring to grow up weak and dependent. However, all the chimp moms intervened in only 10 of 137 cases - meaning 90 percent of the time they let their kids fight their own battles, regardless of their own rank.

"In other primate species you see moms swooping in to intervene and help their offspring," noted co-author Carson Murray.

Researchers aren't quite sure yet why the offspring of higher-ranking chimpanzee females are more likely to survive, but they plan to conduct further research to find out. One theory is that fighters born to higher-ranking moms may become emboldened during a tussle, their opponents scared and nervous with a "bodyguard" looking on.

"Or it may be that offspring of higher-ranking moms are bigger or stronger for their age, either because they and their moms had priority access to food or because the same genetics that made their moms high-ranking give them a competitive advantage, too," Markham said.

Regardless, should you find yourself witness to a fight between two young chimpanzees, you know who to bet on.

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