Frustration has been observed in chimpanzees many times and for many reasons, and the venting of those frustrations usually results in a wild display similar to that of the male dominance displays. Males often become frustrated while attempting to mate. Young adolescent chimps sometimes become frustrated while in the presence of elders and while trying to gain attention from them. Frustration also is observed in feeding situations where there is competition for food.
There are times when, as a youngster sits at a distance watching a high-ranking male stuffing himself with food, the tension appears to build up to such a point that the adolescent has to give vent to his frustration in a charging display. Off he goes, crashing through the undergrowth and dragging branches. Even this may provoke a reprimand from one of the big males, since it appears that adult chimpanzees are often irritated by a lot of noise and commotion from a youngster. The adolescent may well be chased and even attacked for his ill-advised display. Figan learned his lesson quickly. Twice during the same week we saw Mike attack him after such displays. The following week, after rocking slightly in frustration as he watched Mike feeding, Figan, who had been unable to get any bananas for himself, suddenly got up and half-walked, half-ran away from the group. As he went he gave loud whimpering calls like a child, until he neared a huge buttressed tree that grew some hundred yards along the main track. His whimpers became a series of high-pitched adolescent pants-hoots as he leaped up at the buttresses of the tree and drummed with his feet, de-dum, de-dum, de-dum. Then he came walking back along the path in that jaunty manner of his and sat down again, seemingly quite relaxed and calm. Subsequently, Figan went off on his own to display and drum on the tree on many occasions when he was frustrated in the presence of his elders.