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Female chacma baboons form strong, equitable, and enduring social bonds

  • Author(s): Silk, Joan B.
  • Beehner, Jacinta C.
  • Bergman, Thore J.
  • Crockford, Catherine
  • Engh, Anne L.
  • Moscovice, Liza R.
  • Wittig, Roman M.
  • Seyfarth, Robert M.
  • Cheney, Dorothy L.
  • et al.
Abstract

Analyses of the pattern of associations, social interactions, coalitions, and aggression among chacma baboons (Papio hamadryas ursinus) in the Okavango Delta of Botswana over a 16-year period indicate that adult females form close, equitable, supportive, and enduring social relationships. They show strong and stable preferences for close kin, particularly their own mothers and daughters. Females also form strong attachments to unrelated females who are close to their own age and who are likely to be paternal half-sisters. Although absolute rates of aggression among kin are as high as rates of aggression among nonkin, females are more tolerant of close relatives than they are of others with whom they have comparable amounts of contact. These findings complement previous work which indicates that the strength of social bonds enhances the fitness of females in this population and support findings about the structure and function of social bonds in other primate groups.

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