Previous Research

Undergraduate Senior Honors Thesis

During my undergraduate studies, I wrote an honors thesis comparing grooming patterns in captive populations of hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas) and geladas (Theropithecus gelada). The purpose of the study is to better understand the grooming patterns of captive hamadryas baboons and geladas 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.

Keywords: hamadryas baboons, geladas, grooming patterns, kin selection theory, altruism

Vagell R. (2009). A Cross-Species Comparative Study: Grooming Patterns in Captive Populations of Hamadryas Baboons and Geladas. (unpublished BA Honors Thesis, Queens College CUNY, 2009)