Monday, 18 February 2013

Gelada Baboons Keep Sexual Infidelity Hush-Hush

Joseph Castro, LiveScience Contributor

Between secret rendezvous, deleted messages and outright lies, people will go to great lengths to cover up unfaithful acts. But it now seems we aren't unique in our deception — gelada baboons also actively try to hide their infidelity, new research suggests.

"This kind of deception is common in our society, but it is so difficult to prove that any other animal does it," said lead researcher Aliza le Roux, a behavioral ecologist at the University of the Free State in South Africa. "Here's some evidence that we aren't alone in the world in this, and there are evolutionary roots to our behavior."
CREDIT: Aliza le Roux 

Gelada baboons (Theropithecus gelada) live in small units, which consist of up to a dozen females, a few subordinate males and a dominant male, who holds exclusive reproductive rights to the females. Geladas live in an open grassland habitat and typically produce loud vocal calls during mating, so the dominant male should be able to easily detect any infidelity and stop it from happening. But previous research showed that follower males sire about 17 percent of a group's offspring.


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