A study published in the journal “Nature Ecology and Evolution” has found that baboons’ social structures are more complex than previously thought. Conducted over eight years in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, researchers observed the behaviour of over 600 baboons and found that individuals form close social bonds with kin, friends and individuals outside their social groups. This multilayered social structure enables baboons to form complex social relationships based on social connections rather than genetic relatedness, similar to human social networks. The research also found that baboons can remember and recognise individuals over extended periods of time and form alliances with other social groups.
Study Shows Baboon’s Social Structure is More Complex Than Previously Thought
Baboons are known for their complex social structure that includes hierarchical dominance, close social bonds, and cooperative behavior. However, a recent study published in the journal “Nature Ecology and Evolution” suggests that baboon’s social structures are even more complex than we thought.
The study was conducted in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya, where researchers observed the behavior of over 600 baboons for 8 years. The researchers found that baboons not only form close social bonds with their kin and friends but also with individuals outside of their social groups.
The study suggests that baboons have a “multilayered” social structure, where individuals belong to multiple social groups simultaneously. The researchers observed that baboons form different types of social bonds with individuals in their immediate family, extended family, and social groups.
The study found that:
- Baboons form close bonds with individuals outside of their social groups who are not related to them genetically, which suggests that they form friendships based on social connections rather than genetic relatedness.
- Baboons have “best friends” who they spend most of their time with, and they also have “social cliques” that they associate with regularly.
- Baboons have the ability to remember and recognize other individuals even after years of separation, which shows their complex cognitive abilities.
- Baboons can form alliances with other social groups to protect themselves from predators or to gain access to food resources.
Implications of the Study:
The study suggests that baboons’ social structures are similar to human social networks, where individuals form close bonds with friends and family members but also belong to multiple social groups. The study also shows that baboons have the ability to form complex social relationships based on social connections rather than genetic relatedness.