Baboons live in hierarchical groups, called troops, with dominant members, usually males. A troop is 5-250 individuals, with the usual group having about 50 individuals.
The Savannah Baboon, or Yellow Baboon (Papio cynocephalus), from eastern Africa, is an example of a baboon population that lives in a hierarchical social group.
Hierarchical aggression, or dominance hierarchy, in baboons is a form of communication to secure territory, to determine which members eat and drink first, or to determine breeding dominance.
To determine the hierarchy – the order of dominance – in the group, baboons make vocal noises, show their teeth, push, bite, hit, or fight with members in their same group.
Most of this aggressive behaviour does not cause harm. It is a threatening display to show who is boss.
Hierarchical aggression is intended to increase the social dominance of the group. It can occur between males, between females, between males and females, between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, and between children.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM