Dominance relationships among male hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas)

Teresa Romero*, Miguel A. Castellanos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of dominance has been shown to be useful in describing and predicting social interactions in group-living animals. However, the dominance relationships among adult hamadryas males (Papio hamadryas) are poorly understood, and systematic data are missing from the literature. This study investigated dominance relationships among male hamadryas baboons by applying novel statistical techniques to systematic detailed data on agonistic interactions. We also analyzed the dominance relationship with male age and evaluated the association between dominance and access to mating partners (i.e. the number of adult females per one-male unit (OMU)), food resources (i.e. monopolization of feeding areas), and greeting interactions. The derived dominance indexes showed that, in general, leader males were dominant over followers, and that dominance ability did not correlate with male age. Individual dominance values were very close to each other, suggesting that dominance relationships among hamadryas males were not very rigid. In addition, dominance values were positively correlated with number of adult females per OMU but not with feeding priority. Finally, greeting interactions occurred more frequently between individuals with similar dominance values and with low levels of dominance decidedness. We suggest the need of further studies, especially in wild populations, to confirm our findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Ethology
Issue number1
Early online date16 May 2009
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • baboons
  • greeting interactions
  • male social relationships
  • Papio hamadryas
  • social dominance

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