Baboons groom more powerful mates for favours: Study

Baboons grooming (Fotolia)

Baboons grooming (Fotolia)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:10 PM ET

Watching baboons grooming each other is a sight we're all familiar with.

But scientists say they have an explanation for the behaviour, especially among the less powerful of a group.

They say that baboons groom other, more powerful members early in the morning so that they will be favoured through the rest of the day.

According to The Independent, researchers changed the pattern of some baboons’ day to see how it would change their scheduling, and found that animals tend to groom others earlier on in the day so that they will be favoured in afternoon activities.

They found that subordinate animals changed how they groomed larger ones to ensure that they were treated well at food patches.

“Subordinates were more likely to groom the more dominant individuals earlier in the day, when most foraging activities still lay ahead and the need for tolerance at shared feeding sites was greatest,” said biologist Claudia Sick, from the University of Copenhagen, which ran the study in conjunction with the Zoological Society of London.


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