Differences in Greetings Between Unrelated Adult Male and Female Savanna Baboons (Papio cynocephalus anubis) Based on Friendship
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Several researchers have noted long term social relationships between unrelated adult male and female baboons. These bonds appear to be based on the mutual exchange of benefits. Mutual exchanges of benefits can be suspended when individuals forget about the debts owed by or to them. Greetings are short, frequent interactions between baboons which may serve the purpose of reinforcing existing relationships, such that social interaction via exchange of benefits continues. In this study, the possibility of social signaling via baboon greetings was explored. Greetings between friend were compared with greetings between nonfriends to determine if there are differences, which could be used as social signals. Some differences were found consistent with preliminary studies; however it is difficult to generalize because of the limited scope of the study. Future studies including more baboons should clarify whether the differences noted in this study act as social signals or are a byproduct of individual variation.