, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 87-93

First online:

Infant behaviors in mother-reared and harem-reared baboons (Papio cynocephalus)

  • George H. YoungAffiliated withThe University of Texas at Austin
  • , Rebecca J. HankinsAffiliated withThe Southwest Foundation for Research and Education

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Seven groups of socially living baboons between the ages of 0 and three months were observed at the Southwest Foundation for Research and Education, San Antonio, Texas. Six groups were harems containing one adult male (the biological father), the nursing mothers and their infants, and adult females without offspring. The other group consisted only of nursing mothers and their infants. All seven groups were housed in identical outdoor enclosures 45 m × 27 m × 23 m.

Fourteen behavioral categories were tested. The hypothesis that behavioral sex differences in infant baboons are influenced by the presence of an adult male was not supported by the test results. Sex differences were not detected in either the mother-reared infants or in harem-reared infants. Mother-reared infants (n=13) had significantly greater scores for contact aggression and non-contact aggression categories, whereas harem-reared infants (n=12) scored significantly higher for locomotion, non-aggressive social behaviors, exploration, and rough-and-tumble play.