International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 1549–1566 | Cite as

Cerebrospinal Fluid Monoaminergic Metabolites in Wild Papio anubis and P. hamadryas are Concordant with Taxon-specific Behavioral Ontogeny

  • Clifford J. JollyEmail author
  • Jane E. Phillips-Conroy
  • Jay R. Kaplan
  • J. John Mann


We used a cross-sectional sample to compare ontogenetic trajectories in the concentrations of monoamine neurotransmitter metabolites in cerebrospinal fluid of wild anubis (Papio anubis, n = 49) and hamadryas (P. hamadryas, n = 54) baboons to test the prediction that they would differ, especially in males, in association with their distinct behavioral ontogenies. Values of all 3 metabolites [3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG), the norepinephrine metabolite; 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), the serotonin metabolite; and homovanillic acid (HVA), the dopamine metabolite] declined consistently with dentally-calibrated maturation, and few taxon-related differences were apparent among juveniles. Adult females were too few for adequate comparison, but a discriminant function suggested that they might differ by taxon. Adult males of the 2 species differed strikingly from juveniles and from each other. Contrary to our initial hypothesis, adult male anubis had significantly lower HVA and MHPG, and higher 5-HIAA levels, than predicted from the overall, age-related trend, and MHPG continued to decline with age among adults. As young adults, male hamadryas had low 5-HIAA and a high HVA/5-HIAA ratio, while older males [normatively one-male unit (OMU) leaders] showed a reversal in the trend, with 5-HIAA rising and the HVA/5-HIAA ratio tending to fall. We speculate that the results are related to the dispersing and philopatric ontogenies of anubis and hamadryas males, respectively. Adult male anubis, whose fitness depends on building social networks with nonkin, have high relative serotonin activity, commonly associated with greater social circumspection and skill. Young adult male hamadryas, living among agnatic kin and mating opportunistically, exhibit low 5-HIAA levels, generally associated with impulsivity and social irresponsibility. This reverses as a male approaches the age at which he is normatively the leader of a one-male unit (OMU), and his fitness depends on his maintaining stable relationships with other leaders and with females.


baboon cerebrospinal fluid monoamine metabolites ontogeny Papio anubis Papio hamadryas 



We thank the General Manager, Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Organization, the Warden and Staff of the Awash National Park, and the Biology Department, Addis Ababa University, for permitting and facilitating our research; Ato Minda Wondorfa for his many logistical contributions; the many graduate students who assisted in the field; Dewayne Cairnes and Melissa Ayers for their skilled collection of CSF; Dr. Yung-Yu Huang for expert assistance with the monoamine assays. Grants SBR9615150 to J. E. Phillips-Conroy and C. J. Jolly, HL45666 and HL79421 to J. R. Kaplan, and MH62185 to J. J. Mann supported this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clifford J. Jolly
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jane E. Phillips-Conroy
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jay R. Kaplan
    • 4
    • 5
  • J. John Mann
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and NeurobiologyWashington University Medical SchoolSt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Department of Pathology (Comparative Medicine)Wake Forest University School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  5. 5.Wake Forest University Primate CenterWake Forest University School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  6. 6.Department of Molecular Imaging and NeuropathologyNew York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Department of PsychiatryColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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