Female weight and reproductive condition in a population of olive baboons (Papio anubis)


  • Fred B. Beicovrtch

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles
    • University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Primate Research Center, 1223 Capitol Court, Madison, WI 53715-1299
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The study reported here tested Altmann's prediction [Baboon Mothers and Infants. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1980] that lactating female baboons endure a weight loss. Data from 64 adult female olive baboons (Papio anubis) residing in six troops in Kenya revealed that reproductive condition was related to weight. Lactating females weighed less and pregnant females weighed more than cycling females. There was a negative correlation between the weight of cycling females and the number of months postweighing to their next conception. These results indicate that lactation in wild baboons imposes energy costs that result in lost weight. It is suggested that female baboons may have to surpass a minimum weight threshold prior to resumption of postlactational cycling and that nutritional status is more influential than rank in affecting female reproductive success.