1Anthropology, Rutgers University, 2Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin, 3Rutgers University, Center for Human Evolutionary Studies
Thursday 3:45-4:00, Ballroom B
Recent studies have suggested that alternative mating strategies may explain deviation from the Priority of Access Model of male reproductive success. “Following” of consortships has been proposed as an alternative mating strategy of subordinate male olive baboons, although the impact of this strategy on the ability of high ranking males to monopolize mating and paternity remains little studied. Data were collected from August 2009-July 2010 on followed consortships in one habituated group of olive baboons in Kenya. Genetic paternity was determined for 9 of 11 surviving infants conceived during the same period using noninvasively collected fecal samples. The proportion of time a male spent consorting during a female’s fertile phase was predicted by male dominance rank (GLMM, z=-3.472, p<0.001) but not by any of three measures of female cycle synchrony. Notably, consorting time differed considerably from that predicted by the Priority of Access Model. Additionally, the proportion of infants sired was not correlated to dominance rank (Spearman Rank Correlation, r=-0.32, p=0.18). The maximum proportion of infants sired by a single male was 0.22, and the alpha male sired no infants. Following allowed males of all dominance rank to achieve consort turnovers, with 75% of turnovers instigated by followers. All genetically-determined sires were observed as followers in cycles resulting in conception (N=6 conceptions with sufficient consortship data). These findings suggest that following can reduce mating skew in olive baboons, indicating the evolutionary significance of this alternative strategy.
NSF, L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, Fulbright IIE, American Society of Primatologists, and Center for Human Evolutionary Studies