Does a trade-off between fertility and predation risk explain social evolution in baboons?

R. I.M. Dunbar*, P. Mac Carron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The distribution of group sizes in woodland baboons forms a pair of demographic oscillators that trade fertility off against predation risk. Fertility rates, however, set an upper limit on group size of around 90–95 animals. Despite this, two species of baboons (hamadryas and gelada) have groups that significantly exceed this limit, suggesting that these two species have been able to break through this fertility constraint. We suggest that they have done so by adopting a form of social substructuring that uses males as ‘hired guns’ to minimize the stresses of living in the unusually large groups required by high predation risk habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
JournalJOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY
Volume308
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • bodyguard hypothesis
  • fertility
  • fission
  • predation risk
  • social organization

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