German Primate Center (DPZ) study shows tolerance and cooperative ties between male Guinea baboons
Contests, threats, at best ignore one another: The relationships between male mammals are usually described in this or a similar way. The situation is quite different in humans where strong partnerships and close ties between unrelated men are widespread.
Male Guinea baboons (Papio papio) are grooming each other. Photo: Julia Fischer
Male Guinea baboons (Papio papio) form close cooperative connections with both related and unrelated conspecifics. Photo: Julia Fischer
Ranging from the joint construction of a hut up to the decisions of Executive Board members, there are countless examples that friendships among men bring decisive advantages and are a core ingredient of the complexity of human societies.
In their recently published study, Julia Fischer and her colleagues from the German Primate Center (DPZ) in Göttingen found that male Guinea baboons are tolerant and cooperative towards their same-sex conspecifics, even if they are not related. In this way, males actively contribute to the cohesion of their multilevel Baboon society. Guinea baboons are therefore a valuable model to understand the social evolution of humans (Patzelt et al., 2014, PNAS).
Within a long-term field study conducted at the DPZ Research Station Simenti in Senegal, a population of Guinea baboons was observed over a period of two years. The scientists found that the social organization of the Guinea baboon has three tiers.
The smallest and central units of the society are so-called parties comprising of three to four males with their associated females and their infants. Close social bonds between males are formed within the parties. The next higher level is the gang that consists of two or three parties. Also within the gang, some friendly social interactions between males could be observed. The third level includes all animals that share a home range and is referred to as a community.
"The degree of kinship did not affect the social interaction. The males form close cooperative connections with both related and unrelated conspecifics", says Julia Fischer, head of the Cognitive Ethology Laboratory at the German Primate Center. Furthermore, the male Guinea baboons showed far less rivalry as well as less aggression towards females than for example the chacma baboons. Interestingly, traits associated with intersexual competition such as the size of their canine teeth or testicles were also smaller in Guinea baboons than in other species.
"Our results show that a complex social organization builds on the emergence and maintenance of cooperation regardless of the genetic relationships", says Julia Fischer. Humans live in a multilevel social system too, where the smallest unit is the family. Within traditional societies, male individuals enter strong cooperative relationships with each other regardless of the degree of kinship. The occurrence of these bonds is associated with the evolutionary development of multilevel societies. „In order to understand our social evolution non-human primates who live in complex communities are important models", says Julia Fischer.
In future studies, the researchers want to investigate the role of females in the male friendships. Perhaps they prefer males with an established network and can thereby contribute to a more intensive friendship between males.
Patzelt A et al. (2014): Male tolerance and male-male bonds in a multilevel primate society. PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1405811111
Prof. Dr. Julia Fischer
Tel: +49 551 3851-375
Dr. Susanne Diederich (Communication)
Tel: +49 551 3851-359
Printable pictures are available in our Mediathek. We kindly request a specimen copy in case of publication.
The German Primate Center (DPZ) – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research conducts biological and biomedical research with primates in infection research, neuroscience and primate biology. The DPZ maintains three field stations in the tropics and is the reference and service center for all aspects of primate research. The DPZ is one of 89 research and infrastructure facilities of the Leibniz Association.
http://medien.dpz.eu/webgate/keyword.html?currentContainerId=2321 - Printable images
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/09/04/1405811111.full.pdf+html - Original publication
http://www.dpz.eu/en/home/single-view/news/maennerfreundschaften-als-schluessel-... - DPZ Webpage
Dr. Susanne Diederich | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research