Agonistic dominance in male baboons: An alternative view

  • S. C. Strum


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.

Key words

baboon dominance reproduction migration 


  1. Alcock, J. (1975).Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach, Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Mass.Google Scholar
  2. Altmann, J. (1974). Observational study of behavior: Sampling methods.Behavior 49: 22–267.Google Scholar
  3. Altmann, S. A. (1962). A field study of the sociobiology of the rhesus monkey,Macaca mulatto.Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 102: 338–435.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernstein, I. S. (1970). Primate status hierarchies. In Rosenblum, L. A. (ed.),Primate Behavior, Vol. 1, Academic Press, New York, pp. 71–111.Google Scholar
  5. Bernstein, I. S. (1976). Dominance, aggression and reproduction in primate societies.J. Theoret. Biol. 60: 459–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blankenship, L. H., and Qvortrup, S. A. (1974). Resource management on a Kenya ranch.Ann. S. Afr. Wildl. Manage. Assoc. 4: 185–190.Google Scholar
  7. DeVore, I. (1965). Male dominance and mating behavior in baboons. In Beach, F. A. (ed.),Sex and Behavior, John Wiley and Sons, New York, pp. 266–289.Google Scholar
  8. Gartlan, J. S. (1968). Structure and function in primate society.Folia Primatol. 8: 89–120.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Hall, K. R. L., and DeVore, I. (1965). Baboon social behavior. In DeVore, I. (ed.).,Primate Behavior, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, pp. 53–110.Google Scholar
  10. Hamilton, W. J. (1978). Sex differences in cooperative behavior of free ranging savannah baboons. Paper presented at Wenner-Gren Conference: Baboon Field Research, Myths and Models, June 1978, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Harding, R. S. O. (1973).Range Utilization by a Troop of Olive Baboons, Unpublished dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  12. Hausfater, G. (1975).Dominance and Reproduction in Baboons: Contributions to Primatology, Vol. 7, Karger, Basel.Google Scholar
  13. Hendrickx, A. G., and Kraemer, D. C. (1969). Observation on the menstrual cycle, optimal mating time, and preimplantation embryos of the baboon,Papio anubis andPapio cynocephalus.J. Reprod. Fert. Suppl. 6: 119–128.Google Scholar
  14. Hinde, R. A. (1974).Biological Bases of Human Social Behavior, McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  15. Kummer, H., Goetz, W., and Angst, W. (1970). Cross species modifcations of social behavior in baboons. In Napier, J. R. and Napier, P. H. (eds.),Old World Monkeys, Academic Press, New York, pp. 351–364.Google Scholar
  16. Kummer, H., Goetz, W., and Angst, W. (1974). Triadic differentiation: An inhibitory process protecting pair bonds in baboons.Behaviour 49: 62–87.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Landau, H. G. (1951a). On dominance relations and the structure of animal societies. I. Effect of inherent characteristics.Bull. Math. Biophys. 13: 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Landau, H. G. (1915b). On dominance relations and the structure of animal societies. II. Some effects of possible social factors.Bull. Math. Biophys. 13: 245–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Manning, A. (1972).An Introduction to Animal Behavior, 2nd ed., Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass.Google Scholar
  20. Mayr, E. (1972). Sexual selection and natural selection. In Campbell, B. (ed.),Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man, Aldine, Chicago, pp. 87–104.Google Scholar
  21. Packer, C. (1979). Male dominance and reproductive activity inPapio anubis.Anim. Behav. 27: 37–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Parker, G. A. (1974). Assessment strategy and the evolution of fighting behaviour.J. Theor. Biol. 47: 223–243.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Popp, J. (1978).Male Baboons and Evolutionary Principles, Unpublished dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  24. Popp, J., and DeVore, I. (1979). Aggressive competition and social dominance theory. In Hamburg, D., and McCown, E. R. (eds.),The Great Apes: Perspectives on Human Evolution, Vol. 5, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, pp. 317–340.Google Scholar
  25. Ransom, T. W. (1971).Ecology and Social Behavior of Baboons (Papio anubis)at Gombe National Park, Unpublished dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  26. Ransom, T. W. and Ransom, B. S. (1971). Adult male-infant relations among baboons (Papio anubis).Folia primatol. 16: 179–195.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rowell, T. E. (1966). Forest living baboons in Uganda.J. Zool. Lond. 147: 344–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rowell, T. E. (1967). Quantitative comparison of the behavior of a wild and a caged baboon group.Anim. Behav. 16: 585–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rowell, T. E. (1972).Social Behavior of Monkeys, Penguin, Kingsport, Tenn.Google Scholar
  30. Rowell, T. E. (1974). The concept of social dominance.Behav. Biol. 11: 131–154.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Saayman, G. S. (1971). behavior of the adult males in a troop of free-ranging chacma baboons (Papio ursinus).Folia primatol. 15: 36–57.Google Scholar
  32. Seyfarth, R. M. (1975).The Social Relationships among Adults in a Troop of Free-Ranging Baboons (Papio cynocephalus ursinus), Unpublished dissertation, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England.Google Scholar
  33. Strum, S. C. (1975). Primate predation: Interim report on the development of a tradition in a troop of olive baboons. Science 187: 755–757.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Strum, S. C. (1976). Primate predation and bioenergetics: A reply.Science 191: 315–317.Google Scholar
  35. Strum, S. C. (1981). Processes and products of change: Baboon predatory behavior at Gilgil, Kenya. In Harding, R. S. O., and Teleki, G. (eds.),Omnivorous Primates: Gathering and Hunting in Human Evolution, Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 255–302.Google Scholar
  36. Wade, T. D. (1977). Status and hierarchy in nonhuman primate societies. In Bateson, P. P. G., and Klopfer, P. (eds.),Perspectives in Ethology, Vol. 3, Plenum Press, New York, pp. 109–134.Google Scholar
  37. Wildt, D. E., Doyle, L. L., Stone, S. C., and Harrison, R. M. (1977). Correlation of perineal swelling with serum ovarian hormone levels, vaginal cytology, and ovarian follicular development during the baboon reproductive cycle.Primates 18: 261–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wilson, E. O. (1975).Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. C. Strum
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA

Personalised recommendations