by Brooks Hays
Washington (UPI) Jul 18, 2017
New research suggests fathers play an important role in encouraging sibling bonding among young baboons. Until now, biologists assumed moms alone were responsible for socializing their offspring.
Familial bonding is an important part of the maturation process for young baboons. Strong familial ties encourage the acquisition of important skills, including how to forage, avoid predators and socialize with other baboons.
In efforts to tease out the links between sibling bonding and skill acquisition, scientists have mostly focused on maternal interactions. But new research by biologists at the University of Missouri suggests fathers also play a vital role in socialization.
Scientists studied the behavior and interactions of 39 immature olive baboons in Kenya. In the months preceding the study, half of all baboon parents in the community had been killed by leopards, leaving many of the young baboons with just a single parent.
The extensive leopard predation offered scientists the rare opportunity to study the impacts of the absence of a father or mother. Fecal samples helped to establish kinship relations among the studied baboons.
For several months, biologists studied the grooming behaviors and other interactions among the juvenile baboons.
Researchers measured the strongest bonds among siblings with the same mother. Young baboons without relation exhibited the weakest bonds. Half-siblings who shared a father showed signs of intermediate bonding. However, bonding among half-siblings were stronger when their father was present.
"The presence of a father in a group facilitates the development of strong social bonds among his offspring," biologist Emily Lynch said in a news release.
Lynch believes bonding among paternal kinship is equally important to baboon social structures and cohesion.
She and her colleagues shared their latest findings this week in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.
"Offspring may be able to 'recognize' one another through a shared association with their mother's male friend, who is the putative father," said Lynch. "This recognition may be driven through familiarity with a shared father or through some form of phenotype matching."
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 11, 2017
DARPA has awarded contracts to five research organizations and one company that will support the Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program: Brown University; Columbia University; Fondation Voir et Entendre (The Seeing and Hearing Foundation); John B. Pierce Laboratory; Paradromics, Inc.; and the University of California, Berkeley. These organizations have formed teams to develop the ... read more
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