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 February 27, 2015 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 February 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Friday, February 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New FDA-Approved Diabetes Medicine Might Save Drugmaker

New FDA-Approved Diabetes Medicine Might Save Drugmaker

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved new diabetes drug Toujeo on Wednesday, a move that might save French drugmaker Sanofi&apos;s profits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Artificial Intelligence Can Dominate Atari Video Games

Google's Artificial Intelligence Can Dominate Atari Video Games

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) Google&apos;s artificial intelligence, DeepMind, has figured out how to play and master a handful of Atari video games. Brett Larson explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Ordered to Pay $533 Mln

Apple Ordered to Pay $533 Mln

Reuters - Business Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) A Texas jury ruled that Apple&apos;s iTunes software infringed three patents. Apple says it&apos;ll appeal. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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