Evidence for varying social strategies across the day in chacma baboons

  • C. Sick, A. J. Carter, H. H. Marshall, L. A. Knapp, T. Dabelsteen, G. Cowlishaw
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences, July 2014, Royal Society Publishing
  • DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0249

Social strategies of baboons

What is it about?

Social animals often develop affiliative relationships with other group members to reduce aggression and gain access to scarce resources. In primates, affiliative interactions are largely based on grooming, which can be reciprocated or exchanged for other goods or services. We found that, in wild baboons, subordinates were more likely to groom dominants earlier in the day, when most foraging activities still lay ahead and the need for tolerance at shared feeding sites was greatest.

Why is it important?

Our findings show that the social strategies of group-living animals can be adjusted over very short time periods - within a day. Thus, the social strategies of baboons are much more flexible than previously appreciated.

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The following have contributed to this page: MSc Claudia Sick and Dr Harry H Marshall