Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Relationship between social status and wound-healing in wild baboons

Date:
May 24, 2012
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Biologists have found that male baboons that have a high rank within their society recover more quickly from injuries, and are less likely to become ill than other males.

An adult male baboon rests on a tree near Amboseli National Park, Kenya.
Credit: Elizabeth Miller

Turns out it's not bad being top dog, or in this case, top baboon.

Related Articles


Results of a study by University of Notre Dame biologist Beth Archie and colleagues from Princeton University and Duke University finds that male baboons that have a high rank within their society recover more quickly from injuries, and are less likely to become ill than other males.

The finding is somewhat surprising, given that top-ranked males also experience high stress, which should suppress immune responses.

Archie, Jeanne Altmann of Princeton and Susan Alberts of Duke examined health records from the Amboseli Baboon Research Project in Kenya. They published their results in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The scientists also found that social status is a better predictor of wound-healing than age.

"The power of this study is in identifying the biological mechanisms that may confer health benefits to high-ranking members of society," says George Gilchrist, program director in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorate for Biological Sciences, which co-funded the research with NSF's Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences.

"We know that humans have such benefits, but it took meticulous long-term research on baboon society to tease out the specific mechanisms," says Gilchrist. "The question remains of causation: is one a society leader because of stronger immune function or vice versa?"

Although research on health and disease in animals in laboratory settings has been extensive, this study is one of the most comprehensive conducted on animals in a natural setting, the scientists say.

The researchers examined 27 years of data on naturally-occurring illnesses and injuries in wild male baboons. They investigated how differences in age, physical condition, stress, reproductive effort and testosterone levels contribute to status-related differences in immune function.

Previous research found that high testosterone levels and intense reproductive efforts can suppress immune function and are highest among high-ranking males.

However, Archie and colleagues found that high-ranking males were less likely to become ill and recovered faster from injuries and illnesses than low-ranking males.

The authors suggest that chronic stress, old age and poor physical condition associated with low rank may suppress immune function in low-ranking males.

"The complex interplay among social context, physiology and immune system-mediated health costs and benefits illustrates the power of interdisciplinary research," says Carolyn Ehardt, program director in NSF's biological anthropology program.

"This research begins to tease apart the trade-offs in both high- and low-status in primates--including ourselves--which may lead to a new understanding of the effects of social status on death and disease."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. E. A. Archie, J. Altmann, S. C. Alberts. Social status predicts wound healing in wild baboons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1206391109

Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Relationship between social status and wound-healing in wild baboons." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524123211.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2012, May 24). Relationship between social status and wound-healing in wild baboons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524123211.htm
National Science Foundation. "Relationship between social status and wound-healing in wild baboons." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524123211.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) This is the latest development in an antitrust investigation accusing Google of unfairly prioritizing own products and services in search results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
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:

More Coverage


What Baboons Can Teach Us About Social Status

May 21, 2012 High-ranking male baboons recover more quickly from injuries and are less likely to become ill than other males, biologists have ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

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