Friend or foe: Reconciliation between males and females in wild chacma baboons

Alice Baniel

November 13, 2018, 12:45–13:45


Room MF323


Among primates with promiscuous mating systems, male aggression towards females is a common occurrence. But preferential heterosexual relationships are also known to confer numerous fitness advantages to both sexes—making it of interest to explore how aggression is managed among male-female dyads through strategies like reconciliation (i.e., post-conflict affiliative reunions between former opponents). In this study, we test for the presence and form of reconciliation between male and female wild chacma baboons (Papio ursinus). We show that heterosexual opponents exhibit friendly post-conflict reunions, further demonstrating that reconciliation is more common between males and pregnant/lactating females who form tight social bonds. Such ‘friendships’ represent stable associations offering ultimate benefits to both parties—mainly improving offspring survival—aligning our findings with the Valuable Relationship Hypothesis, which predicts rates of reconciliation to increase with the fitness consequences of opponents’ bond. The present research illuminates how male-female aggression in promiscuous societies may be mitigated via relationship repair strategies like reconciliation, the balance in those efforts shedding new light on the mutual investment in such bonds.


Alice Baniel, Friend or foe: Reconciliation between males and females in wild chacma baboons, IAST Lunch Seminar, Toulouse: IAST, November 13, 2018, 12:45–13:45, room MF323.