Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Cross-Species Comparative Study: Grooming Patterns in Captive Populations of Hamadryas Baboons and Geladas

This is the thesis that I've been working on for the past year. Finally got it graded and I am really happy about the thesis. After writing this thesis, I have more follow-up questions pertaining to grooming than I had started with so I guess it's a good thing.

Thanks to Dr. Larissa Swedell for supervising my thesis. Also, thanks to Dr. Sara Stinson and Dr. Ekaterina Pechenkina for reading the thesis and your inputs.

Abstract:
Primates groom themselves (autogrooming) and each other (allogrooming) for a variety of purposes. Allogrooming is arguably an altruistic behavior, and may be explained by kin selection. The purpose of this study is to better understand the grooming patterns of captive hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas hamadryas) and geladas (Theropithecus gelada) within the context of kin selection theory, which posits that kin will interact, especially in altruistic ways, more than non-kin.

This study hypothesizes that grooming patterns in hamadryas baboons and geladas can be explained by the patterns of philopatry, dispersal, social system and bonding that are seen in wild populations. The results of this study show that there is a higher frequency of allogrooming than autogrooming in both hamadryas baboons and geladas. It also shows that gelada leader males groomed their females more than hamadryas leader males groomed their females, which does not support the hypothesis of this study. The following results showed a trend but were not statistically significant enough to support the hypotheses: female hamadryas baboons and geladas groomed more than male hamadryas baboons and geladas; hamadryas leader males groomed their females more than females groomed among themselves in the same hamadryas group; gelada females groomed each other more than gelada leader males and their females; male hamadryas baboons groomed more than male geladas; female geladas groomed more than female hamadryas baboons; hamadryas baboons groomed more than geladas.

In addition, this study also hypothesizes that there is a correlation between grooming frequency and temperature. There is a positive correlation between grooming frequency and temperature in hamadryas baboons but a negative correlation in geladas.

A Cross-Species Comparative Study: Grooming Patterns in Captive Populations of Hamadryas Baboons and Geladas

3 comments:

Vance said...

All your (very) hard work paid off!

Field Notes said...

So, why do you think gelada leader males groomed their females more than hamadryas leader males groomed their females?

Raymond Ho said...

Field Notes, most probably because of sampling error now that I'm done collecting the data. Leader male Bruce has only one female, Bonnie, therefore it appears that gelada leader males groom more than hamadryas leader males.

It might also due to the fact that hamadryas leader males were also grooming other hamadryas males, not only their females. My gelada study subjects consist of only 2 males and both are leader males.