Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Having and raising offspring is costly phase of life for baboon moms

Date:
May 19, 2014
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Observations made over the past 29 years in Kenya as part of one of the world's longest-running studies of a wild primate show how having offspring influences the health of female baboons. These observations highlight that females are mostly injured on days when they are likely to conceive. In addition, injuries heal the slowest when they are suckling their young. Reproduction can be dangerous and energetically costly, exposing individuals to physical harm, infectious disease and reduced immunity.

Female baboons and their infants in the Amboseli ecosystem in Kenya. In baboons, the costs of lactation can delay wound healing.
Credit: Jeanne Altmann

Observations made over the past 29 years in Kenya as part of one of the world's longest-running studies of a wild primate show how having offspring influences the health of female baboons. These observations highlight that females are mostly injured on days when they are likely to conceive. In addition, injuries heal the slowest when they are suckling their young. The study, published in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, is led by Elizabeth Archie of the University of Notre Dame in the US and the National Museums of Kenya.

Reproduction can be dangerous and energetically costly, exposing individuals to physical harm, infectious disease and reduced immunity. To investigate how long-lived, slow-reproducing species such as primates adjust to this, Archie and her colleagues turned to data collected as part of the Amboseli Baboon Research Project near Kilimanjaro. Here, trained observers have made almost daily notes since 1971 on groups of yellow baboons. Among others, 707 injuries to 160 female baboons between 1982 and 2011 were noted.

The analysis of the data makes it possible to predict the risk of injury to specific females by taking their ovarian cycle, dominance rank and age into account, as well as whether their social group is separating into two or more distinct groups. Ovulating females are, for instance, twice as likely to be wounded as those who are in the less fertile days of their cycle. Such injuries occur in the context of reproductive competition through interactions with both adult males and females.

The injuries of lactating baboons were about 21 percent less likely to heal in a given time period than those of non-lactating females. This may be because lactating females are in poorer physical condition or have less energy in general. This influences how well a wound can heal, tissue is repaired and infections are curbed.

The researchers do not find it at all surprising that low-ranking females experience higher injury risk than high-ranking females. Prior research has shown that these baboons are subject to more aggression and are less likely to be supported in conflicts than high-ranking females.

Older females might incur more injuries because they take greater risks to make the best of their declining reproductive years, or because their health and resilience is generally failing. Old age has another drawback for female baboons: older ones tend to heal more slowly than younger females, because immunity and subsequent wound healing commonly decline with age.

"As yet it's unclear if these costs of reproduction influence female survival, but in many species injuries and slow healing have important functional consequences, including reduced mobility and greater risk of infection or predation," says Archie. "Our results contribute to a growing understanding of the costs of reproduction in long-lived species."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Elizabeth A. Archie, Jeanne Altmann, Susan C. Alberts. Costs of reproduction in a long-lived female primate: injury risk and wound healing. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s00265-014-1729-4

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Having and raising offspring is costly phase of life for baboon moms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140519114331.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2014, May 19). Having and raising offspring is costly phase of life for baboon moms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140519114331.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Having and raising offspring is costly phase of life for baboon moms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140519114331.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) 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:
from the past week

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