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Dyadic Play in Hamadryas Baboons

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Play behavior was observed in a captive group of four juvenile Hamadryas baboons at the Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, Illinois, U.S.A.. The group consisted of a male, aged 37 months, a female, aged 28 months and two young males aged 16 and 11 months at the beginning of the 3 month study. Tape recorded commentary of 1006 play bouts was analyzed, and this data was supplemented with material gathered by other methods. Three play behaviors - chase, face-off, and wrestling - and two "adult" behaviors - aggression/submission and grooming - were identified. These behaviors were found to be ordered temporally and socially. Sequences of behavior were nonrandom and highly predictable. Amount of time played, play partnerships and types of play behaviors displayed varied with the age and sex of the animals. The "adult" patterns were found with greater frequency in the older animals, wrestling in the younger ones. The chase-face-off sequence was largely confined to males. These results suggest that the development and sequencing of play are important questions for further investigation.

Affiliations: 1: Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, Illinois, U.S.A


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