International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 125–142 | Cite as

Testicular Size, Mating System, and Maturation Schedules in Wild Anubis and Hamadryas Baboons

  • Clifford J. Jolly
  • Jane E. Phillips-Conroy


We report body mass and testicular size in 258 anubis (Papio anubis or P. hamadryas anubis) and 59 hamadryas (P. hamadryas or P. h. hamadryas) baboons, live-trapped in Ethiopia. As predicted by theories of sexual selection by sperm competition, among hamadryas baboons, which are monandrous, fully adult males have absolutely and relatively smaller testes than those of comparable males among anubis baboons, which are polyandrous. Male hamadryas are also ca. 10% smaller in bodily mass as adults. The intertaxonal difference in adults is due entirely to the fact that in male anubis baboons, testicular and bodily mass continue to grow up to full adulthood–the age at which most males emigrate from their natal troop and initiate a confrontational breeding strategy among unrelated animals. By contrast, male hamadryas baboons, which are usually philopatric, attain adult body mass and testicular size as subadults. In both species, juveniles experience rapid testicular growth peaking in rate at ca. 12kg body mass, but testicular descent and growth starts earlier in hamadryas than in anubis baboons. Juvenile hamadryas baboons have relatively larger testes than their anubis equivalents, perhaps because male philopatry allows the mating strategy of male hamadryas baboons to be initiated during juvenile life and therefore permits some sperm competition between juveniles and adults.

baboons Ethiopia testes growth and development sperm competition Papio 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clifford J. Jolly
    • 1
  • Jane E. Phillips-Conroy
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyNew York UniversityNew York
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and NeurobiologyWashington University Medical SchoolSt. Louis
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyWashington UniversitySt Louis

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