Grooming time

21st November 2011
Early morning and late afternoon are the busiest times for primates. Grooming, feeding, cementing relationships, caring for young and resolving disputes are common activities at this time.
This morning, I sat and watched this young female grooming an older female. Possibly a member of her immediate family, but also possibly one of her ''friends'' within the troop, offering to groom a more senior member of the troop is all part of the system of reciprocity that governs behaviour and hierarchy in baboon society. This act of kindness will be remembered and the subodinate animal will, after fostering a strong friendship, rely on the senior animal''s support during disputes.
Of course, grooming serves a practical purpose too by reducing the tick and parasite load.


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