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Baboons

Baboon (Papio ursinus) belong to the order of primates. They are intelligent animals that are highly social and live in troops numbering from 10 to as many as 200 individuals. Troop size is determined by food availability and social dynamics. Baboon troops constitute stable and permanent units with well defined structure headed up by a few dominant males. Around the nucleus of dominant males and females with their young are the more peripheral members – less dominant males, pregnant or oestrus females and “play groups” of juveniles. Adult baboon are powerful and formidable animals and are not to be trifled with. Armed with large, razor sharp canines, they can be dangerous

“High fives” would be an appropriate caption for the above image. The baboons are however busy grooming themselves and checking for external parasites which they remove either with their fingers or by biting them. Baboons are generally fastidious when it comes to grooming both themselves and other members of the troop.

Mutual grooming or allogrooming, is an important aspect of baboon social behaviour. Not only does it serve the practical purposes associated with grooming, it is also a means of bonding and strengthening group ties. Grooming is also a mechanism used by baboons to appease or placate or show submission to more dominant members with the subordinate doing the grooming.