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Guinea Baboon Research

Guinea baboons
A group of Guinea baboons next to the Gambia River in Senegal (Photo: Urs Kalbitzer)

Baboons (Papio spp.) constitute an important model in the study of primate social evolution as they show considerable variation in many aspects of their social behavior. While most taxa have been well studied, less was known about Guinea baboons (P. papio). Previous observations indicated that  they differ from other baboon taxa, for example by exhibiting high rates of male-male affiliation. Comparative analyses of their social and communicative behavior, ecology, and population genetic structure is expected to reveal insights into the selective forces shaping primate social evolution.

Field site

Behavioral observations
Behavioral observations (Photo: Peter Maciej)

In 2007, we initiated a long term study on wild Guinea baboons. The study community ranges near the field station “Centre de Recherche de Primatology (CRP) Simenti” located in the Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal. Currently, several subgroups including more than 180 individuals are under study. We also study the local Green monkeys. 

Selected Projects

Social organization

Social organization

Female social relationships

female social relationships
Photo: Urs Kalbitzer
  • Females associate with specific males over variable amounts of time (Goffe et al. 2016, BES)
  • Males share meat with associated females (Goffe & Fischer 2016, PB)
  • Female-female relationships are driven by the association with the male, while kinship plays a weak role (Goffe, unpublished data)

Male aggressiveness

Male aggressiveness
Photo: Urs Kalbitzer

Ongoing projects

  • Social knowledge in Guinea baboon males (Faraut PhD project, supported by DFG Research Training Group)
  • Group coordination in Guinea baboons (Montanari PhD project, supported by DFG Research Training Group)

Methods

  • Behavioral observations
  • GPS-collars to collect ranging data
  • Acoustic recordings
  • Playback experiments
  • Measurement of steroid hormones
  • Kinship analyses
  • Investigation of functional polymorphisms
DDPN UCAD

Collaborations

  • Direction des Parcs Nationaux, Senegal
  • Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal
  • Endocrinology Laboratory (DPZ)
  • Primate Genetics Laboratory (DPZ)