Science

Here’s Why Baboon Males Get Violent And Kill Infants

By Rodney Rafols , Jan 20, 2017 04:54 AM EST
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Violence is very much part of nature. Animals experience violence daily, especially against predators. Violence can even happen within the same species. Here's why baboon males get violent and kill infants.

Baboon males have been known to go into domestic violence. This would mean killing infants from other males and attacking pregnant female baboons. It is known that top baboon males in the hierarchy would do that in order to show dominance.

Another reason might be related to it. When there are few available females, male baboons could go on a rampage to induce pregnant females to miscarry. This happens when male baboons are placed in a group where there are few available females around.

Lead author Matthew Zipple, a graduate student from Duke University is making the study about violent male baboon behavior. He has observed that when there is less opportunity to mate, male baboons would become violent and kill infants from other males or else attack pregnant females. However, when there is an opportunity the baboon male would be less violent.

Nursing infants are attacked whenever male baboons become violent. It has been noted though that one and two year old baboons aren't attacked. It has been speculated that the attacks aren't random, but are more targeted towards small infants and pregnant baboons.

One suggestion why male baboons only attack pregnant women and infants is to make females fertile as quickly as possible, according to Duke Today. This would reduce the time for a male to wait on a female. Female baboons can take to a year before being ready to mate again.

A female who miscarries or has its infant killed would have a shorter period to become ready. It would only take 41 days for a female to be ready to mate if it miscarries or else has its infant die, as Science Daily notes. A number of those who commit such acts are male baboons who have been placed in a new group and have quickly rose to the top.

However baboon males only have a short period for that. Competition can be fierce, and in as little as 12 months those who are on top of the group could be taken out by other males. Violence is a way of life in nature, and here's why baboon males get violent and kill infants. Baboon calls might also hold the key to early human speech.

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