Abstract # 2028 Poster # 194:

Scheduled for Friday, August 18, 2006 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 17 (Regency West 1/3 ) Poster Presentation

Differences in social behavior of male and female baboons (Papio hamadryas sp.) housed in same-sex groups

E. J. Glover1, L. D. Cox2 and J. K. Pecotte1
1Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research/Southwest National Primate Research, P.O. Box 760549, San Antonio, TX 78245-0549, USA, 2Tulane National Primate Research Center
     Nonhuman primates are often housed in same-sex groups in captivity to avoid unwanted breeding. This social structure is unlike what is seen in the wild in most species. Our study assessed behavioral differences between six adult male and six adult female baboons (8 to 20 years) of primarily olive and yellow hybridized and pure olive subspecies in stable, same-sex housing. Thirty-minute continuous focal observations (eight per subject) measuring all occurrences of social interactions were conducted for each individual. Social behavior was categorized into three groups: Affiliative, submissive, and aggressive. Mann-Whitney U tests showed that females housed in same-sex groups had significantly higher levels of overall social interaction when compared to males (p=0.002). Of particular significance, females received more affiliative gestures (p=0.009), and received and gave more submissive gestures (p=0.015, p=0.002). These data suggest that male baboons are less likely than females to interact with each other when housed in same-sex groups. Surprisingly, although females exchanged more affiliative behaviors overall, the proportion of affiliation observed in males (46%) was greater than any other behavioral category in the all-male groups. Conversely, females showed more submissive behavior (43%) compared to other behavior. Although aggressive interactions were not significantly different between all-male and all-female groups, results suggest that females and males housed in same-sex groups exhibit different social behaviors that may ultimately assist in avoiding or diffusing aggression.