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Aspects of Attention, Orientation, and Status Hierarchy in Mandrills (Mandrillus Sphinx) and Gelada Baboons (Theropithecus Gelada)

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Social visual attention, body orientation, and the status hierarchy were studied in groups of baboons, Mahdrillus sphinx and Theropithecus gelada. In the gelada group, social attention of the dominant male was found to be directed more to his group than was the case in the mandrill group. This was correlated with a greater amount of mutual visual attention between the dominant male and his harem in geladas, relative to the mandrills. A general discussion of the Importance of vigilance for external danger in group living primates was presented, with particular reference to the role of the dominant male. Secondary referents (statistically significant peaks of social attention) were found to occur in the lower levels of the status hierarchy in both groups. This was related to a current theory of primate aggression. Body orientation was related to avoidance of presenting a potentially threatening posture in mandrills and to sexual advertisement in geladas.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, U.S.A.

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