Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

For female baboons, too, it's good to have friends

Date:
July 6, 2010
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Female baboons that maintain closer ties with other members of their troop live substantially longer than do those whose social bonds are less stable, a recent study has found. The researchers say that the findings add to evidence in animals from mice to humans that social bonds have real adaptive value.

Females baboons socializing with each other and with their offspring. Female baboons that maintain closer ties with other members of their troop live substantially longer than do those whose social bonds are less stable, a recent study has found.
Credit: iStockphoto/Thomas Barnes

Female baboons that maintain closer ties with other members of their troop live substantially longer than do those whose social bonds are less stable, a recent study has found. The researchers say that the findings, reported online on July 1st in Current Biology, add to evidence in animals from mice to humans that social bonds have real adaptive value.

Related Articles


"Our results suggest that close, stable social relationships have significant reproductive benefits," said Joan Silk of the University of California, Los Angeles. "The data add to a growing body of evidence from humans and other animals that females with a strong, supportive social network are healthier and have greater reproductive success."

Silk said that she and her colleagues were surprised to discover that the effects are at least partially independent of a given female's status in the group. In other words, the benefits of social ties don't just derive from greater competitive ability or greater access to resources for those of higher dominance rank.

"Given that high-ranking females have priority of access to food resources, one might have predicted that rank would be the primary factor influencing longevity," said Dorothy Cheney of the University of Pennsylvania. "Our results indicate instead that the quality of a female's social bonds with other females is more important, suggesting that subordinate females may be able to offset the competitive disadvantage of low rank through their social relationships."

The quality and stability of baboon relationships trump quantity, the researchers say. Females who were able to maintain the same grooming partners from one year to the next lived longer and had more surviving offspring.

Baboons most often form close bonds with relatives, the researchers said, and the stability of those connections is partly a matter of luck since lions and leopards often prey upon baboons. But it appears that isn't the whole story. The researchers found that 80 percent of females that switched close grooming partners from one year to the next did so despite that fact that their earlier companion was still in the group.

Silk and Cheney said they aren't exactly sure how the relationships lead baboons to live longer lives, but it might have something to do with lower stress levels in those with dedicated grooming partners. It's also possible that females with such networks are more likely to be resting and foraging near other animals, making them less vulnerable to predators.

The findings in baboons may lend humans some added insight into our own social lives, the researchers said.

"Having friends is important for us and for female baboons -- and maybe for some of the same reasons," Silk said. "Our findings are strikingly similar to evidence from humans showing that social ties have important effects on our mental and physical health and our longevity. We suspect that the human motivation to form close and lasting friendships has a very long evolutionary history."

The researchers include Joan B. Silk, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; Jacinta C. Beehner, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; Thore J. Bergman, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; Catherine Crockford, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, UK; Anne L. Engh, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Liza R. Moscovice, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY; Roman M. Wittig, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, UK; Robert M. Seyfarth, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; and Dorothy L. Cheney, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joan B. Silk, Jacinta C. Beehner, Thore J. Bergman, Catherine Crockford, Anne L. Engh, Liza R. Moscovice, Roman M. Wittig, Robert M. Seyfarth, and Dorothy L. Cheney. Strong and Consistent Social Bonds Enhance the Longevity of Female Baboons. Current Biology, July 1, 2010 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.05.067

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "For female baboons, too, it's good to have friends." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100701131157.htm>.
Cell Press. (2010, July 6). For female baboons, too, it's good to have friends. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100701131157.htm
Cell Press. "For female baboons, too, it's good to have friends." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100701131157.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins