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Social Behavior

Baboon social behavior is matrilineal, in which a network of social relationships are sustained over three generations from the female members of the species. A troop of baboons can range in number from 30 to over 200 members, depending upon the availability of food. The baboon troop consists of related bands composed of several clans, where each clan may have a number of smaller harem families made up of mothers, their children, and a male. Female baboons remain with the group into which they are born for the duration of their lives, while the males leave to join other troops as they become mature.

Ranking within the group of females begins with the mother, with female offspring ranking below their mothers. Adult females are either nursing or pregnant for most of their lives, and they spend a great deal of time with other female friends, avoiding the males. During a daytime rest period, the females gather around the oldest female in the troop and lie close together. The way baboons huddle together while they are resting and the other movements in their troops are defense measures against outsiders and predators. The dominant males travel in the center of the troop to keep order among the females and the juveniles, while the younger males travel around the outer fringes of the group.

During their rest periods, baboons spend considerable time grooming one another, which helps to reinforce their social bonds. Females have male baboons that assist them in caring for their infants and protecting them from danger. These males may not be the fathers, but they may later mate with the female.

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