Agonistic dominance in male baboons: An alternative view
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Data on baboons have generated both the concepts normally associated with male dominance hierarchies among primates and the tests of their significance. The priority-of-access model has been used to predict the relationship between dominance rank and resource acquisition. While the correlation between these two factors, or between rank and measures of reproductive success, has varied among different primate species, most recent baboon field-workers have interpreted their results to be consistent with the model. Based on 1200 hr of observation of a troop of savannah baboons near Gilgil, Kenya, this paper presents data on male agonistic interactions and on male acquisition of resources. Predictions of the priority-of-access model are tested and an inverse relationship is found between agonistic dominance rank and acquisition of two limited resources, estrous females and meat. The importance of the residency status of males is explored and an alternative hypothesis is presented to account for the anomalous pattern in the data. The relationship of male reproductive success and dominance rank is evaluated in light of the data on these baboons and the “residency” hypothesis.