Female Baboons With Close Friends Live Longer

Michael Balter of ScienceNOW reports on a new study from Joan Silk, an anthropologist at UCLA, and her colleagues who watched wild female baboons in the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana to see how often they approached and groomed one another, finding that:

Females who had the strongest, most stable, and longest-lasting relationships with other baboons lived significantly longer than those whose social ties were more fragile and unpredictable. To illustrate their findings, the researchers divided the baboons into three groups according to the quality of their relationships with others. Members of the least sociable group lived from about 7 to 18 years; the middle group lived from about 9 to 25 years; and the friendliest group lived from 10 years on up, as some were still alive when the study ended.
Such findings in a nonhuman primate, the authors write, “suggest that the human motivation to form close and enduring bonds has a long evolutionary history.”

Category: Animal Studies


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