Feeding competition among female olive baboons, papio anubis

Robert A. Barton, Andrew Whiten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


Competition for food is thought to play a key role in the social organization of group-living female primates, leading to the prediction that individual foraging success will be partly regulated by dominance relationships. Among adult females in a group of free-ranging olive baboons, dominance rank was significantly correlated with nutrient acquisition rates (feeding rates and daily intakes), but not with dietary diversity or quality, nor with activity budgets. The mean daily food intake of the three highest-ranking females was 30% greater than that of the three lowest-ranking females, providing an explanation for relationships between female rank and fertility found in a number of other studies of group-living primates. The intensity of feeding competition, as measured by supplant rates and spatial clustering of individuals, increased during the dry season, a period of low food availability, seemingly because foods eaten then were more clumped in distribution than those eaten in the wet season. Implications for models of female social structure and maximum group size are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-789
Number of pages13
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993


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