Abstract # 125:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2011 10:15 AM-10:30 AM: Session 17 (Meeting Room 408) Oral Presentation


FACTORS INFLUENCING THE EXPRESSION OF "FOLLOWING," AN ALTERNATIVE MATING STRATEGY IN MALE OLIVE BABOONS IN KENYA

L. M. Danish and R. A. Palombit
Rutgers University, Department of Anthropology, 131 George St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
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Recent data demonstrate the limitations of explaining male mating behavior in light of priority of access, directing our attention to the evolutionary significance of alternative mating strategies. These strategies are thought to enable individuals to maximize reproductive success by adjusting behavior in light of their condition and environmental circumstances. We focused on a proposed alternative male mating strategy in olive baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis), called “following,” in which one to eight males maintains proximity to and coordinates their activities with a consorting pair. Data were collected from 31 males in three groups (of differing sizes) of wild olive baboons over 13 months in Kenya. Measures included the proportion of time males spent engaged in following existing consortships, their dominance ranks, and physical condition. MANOVA indicated that physical condition affected the proportion of time spent following (p<0.0001, df=7); males of “past-prime” condition exhibited a higher proportion of time following than males of prime and inferior conditions. Dominance rank was not a significant predictor of a male’s following behavior (Fisher’s LSD test, p>0.5, df=25). The proportion of time spent following was twice as high among males in the two smaller groups compared to males in the larger group (Fisher’s LSD test, p<0.05, df=25). The expression of following is influenced by a male’s physical condition and the social environment he resides in, but not by his dominance rank.