International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1205–1226 | Cite as

Affiliation Among Females in Wild Hamadryas Baboons (Papio hamadryas hamadryas)

  • Larissa Swedell


Previous researchers of hamadryas baboons have described a star-shaped sociogram, whereby the strongest social bonds within hamadryas one-male units are between a leader male and his females and bonds among females are weak by comparison. This type of social organization is also known as cross-bonding to distinguish it from the female-bonding found in most papionin monkeys. Models of female primate socioecology suggest that hamadryas baboons lack female bonding due to their reliance on scarce, widely-dispersed food resources. Here, I report observational data from a wild population of hamadryas baboons in Ethiopia indicating that, while females varied widely in their frequency of social interaction with other females, most females spent about as much social time with other females as they did with the leader male and some females even crossed unit boundaries to interact with one another. The size of a unit was positively correlated with the tendency of its females to interact with other females and was negatively correlated with the tendency of its females to interact with the leader male. Females were equally likely to spend social time with other females whether or not the leader male was available for social interaction at the time. Overall, this study suggests that a star-shaped sociogram does not characterize all hamadryas baboons and that female hamadryas may be, to some extent, female-bonded as well as cross-bonded. The lack of more pronounced female bonding in hamadryas is probably due to the behavior of males rather than to ecological factors.

hamadryas baboons female bonding cross-bonding star-shaped sociogram female social relationships grooming 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larissa Swedell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyQueens College, City University of New YorkFlushing

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