|(Photo by Bjorn Christian Torrissen)|
According to LiveScience, being a nice baboon really "pays off." Researcher Robert Seyfarth of the University of Pennsylvania has found that personality counts when it comes to determining the
"strength of a baboon's social circle." No longer is baboon popularity thought to be just a matter of "dominance rank" and
"network of kin." Seyarth and his team discovered that it is also a matter of friendly tendencies.
So what constitutes a friendly (and/or not-so-friendly) baboon? Interestingly enough, sort of the same tendencies that apply to humans… "Nice" baboons are "friendly to all others regardless of status," offer compassionate grunts to their lesser-ranked buddies, and form "strong social bonds with long-term grooming partners." "Aloof" baboons form somewhat weaker bonds with their grooming partners, are more aggressive, and reserve their grunts for higher-ranking recipients. Least friendly are the "loner" baboons who
form "the weakest social bonds," grunt infrequently, and often change grooming partners.
Whereas "nice" baboons "with good friends often enjoy better health and longer lives," their "loner" counterparts often experience "higher stress levels, lower offspring survival and shorter life spans…"
Perhaps we should all take a cue from the baboons and smile more often. Or - at the very least – grunt out an occasional "Hello."
Copyright October 3, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved