Allogrooming, partner choice, and dominance in male anubis baboons

Stephen Phillip Easley, Anthony M. Coelho, Linda L. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This study was designed to test the hypothesis that among unrelated male baboons (Papio cynocephalus anubis) in single‐gender social groups there is no significant association between dominance status and allogrooming performance. The hypothesis was tested using behavioral measures obtained by focal animal sampling techniques. The results indicate that unrelated male baboons established well‐defined linear dominance hierarchies, formed allogrooming relationships with one another, and exhibited a nonrandom distribution of allogrooming; however, there were no significant relationships between dominance rank and the frequency of allogrooming. We further tested our results by grouping individuals into three dominance status classes (high, middle, and low) and comparing the classes. Analysis of variance demonstrated no significant differences in rates of allogrooming by dominance class. These results suggest that dominance did not account for the variation in observed allogrooming behavior: Dominance status did not appear to determine the frequency with which animals groomed others, the number of grooming partners, or frequency of grooming that any individual received in comparison to that performed. High‐ranking animals did not have significantly more grooming partners than low‐ranking animals, and there appeared to be little competition within the groups for subordinates to groom high‐ranking animals. When age, kinship, and group tenure are controlled, performance and reception of allogrooming are not strongly associated with dominance in single‐gender social groups of male anubis baboons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-368
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Grooming partner
  • Male—male grooming
  • Papio
  • “Friendship”

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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