I’ve never been a baboon, but I have been a mom, and consequently a mother baboon’s failure to call out to a separated youngster emitting distress sounds is not a bit puzzling to me. If I heard my toddler wailing on the other side of the road, would I call and say, “Don’t worry, mummy’s coming,” even if the child were capable of understanding language? Nope. I’d listen carefully to the sounds I recognize as my child in trouble and move purposefully and quickly in that direction. A child sitting in one place crying is more predictable than one who hears Mom’s voice and reacts to it.

M. Lou Mongan
Sausalito, Calif.

From the Nature Index

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