Baboon bosses get stressed for success

Baboon bosses get stressed for success

Alpha males incur a surprising level of strain

By Bruce Bower, 15:34 PM July 13, 2011

Baboon males fight ferociously for power, only to have that power bite back.

Top-ranking males generate surprisingly high levels of stress hormones, a sign that these primates pay a cost to be the boss, report evolutionary biologist Laurence Gesquiere of Princeton University and her colleagues in the July 15 Science.

Stress-hormone levels in alpha males are on par with those of low-ranking males scuffling to survive, the study showed. Baboon bosses are burdened by having to fight off rival...

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