Baboons demonstrate social proficiency

12:35pm, December 16, 2003

Wild baboons may look fierce and uncouth, but don't underestimate their social aptitude, suggest two studies in the Nov. 14 Science.

Previous research showed that female baboons recognize the voices of close maternal relatives. The animals can also readily tell from vocal encounters who's dominant over whom within their own families.

Biologist Thore J. Bergman of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and his colleagues wanted to know whether female baboons could also discern dominance relationships between members of their own family and those of other families in the same community.

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