It seems Baboons take certain decisions in a democratic manner rather than being lead by the strongest or eldest. This conclusion was taken by scientists after discovering that baboon travel patterns are dictated by group decisions.
A recent study published in the Science journal, has determined that travel directions are democratically chosen when dissent is present.
The study also concluded that as far as the data shows movement is not directed by gender or physical strength.
While more personal decisions like the ones regarding mating and feeding are made according to who is strongest or eldest some of the decisions that involve the entire group like travel are made in as a group by the majority.
Ariana and Damien Farine Strandburg Peshkinco-authored the study published the journal Science.
The analysis was done using tracking GPS collar on wild olive baboons in Kenya
Scientists planted 25 GPS collars on olive baboons, after catching them using traps. Once released the team analyzed their movement and social behavior by tracking the collar emitted signals.
The team discovered that when on route if a baboon including the alpha male diverges from the course , and no companions follow he will return to the group and not the other way around.
Any baboon in the group can initiate a new direction and in case there are 2 initiators at the same time the group will constantly compromise between the two.
If one of the initiators is an alpha male it does not necessarily mean that he is the one the group will travel after.
Baboons have a rigid social structure with alpha males at the top, so the fact that they might take certain decisions by majority lead is surprising.
Olive Baboons or Anubis Baboons as they are sometimes called, are the most widely ranging of all baboon species.
They can be found in over 25 African countries with habitats found from coast to coast. They populate an almost homogeneous strip all over central Africa.
Some more recluse populations have been found living in the mountain regions of the Sahara.
No one , including the scientists who conducted the study expected to draw such conclusions. Olive baboons society is so strict that female status in the group is hereditary, with mothers and daughters having the almost the same rank.
Image Source: britannica.com