SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • interbirth interval;
  • dominance;
  • age;
  • sex ratio;
  • estrous cycles;
  • body size;
  • Papio cynocephalus

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate several factors that influence female reproduction in a large troop of wild olive baboons (Papio cynocephalus anubis) based on 4 consecutive years of demographic data. Interbirth intervals were significantly shorter for females whose infants died before their next conception than for females whose infants survived. High-ranking mothers of surviving infants had significantly shorter birth intervals than comparable low-ranking mothers, independent of maternal age. This occurred mainly because the interval from resumption of cycling to conception was significantly shorter for high-vs. low-ranking females. Dominance rank did not influence sex ratio at birth, infant survival in the first 2 years, or adult female mortality. Age was also significantly related to interbirth intervals, with older females having shorter intervals. Primiparous females had consistently longer reproductive intervals than did multiparous females, but this difference reached statistical significance only for females whose infants died before the next conception. Primiparous females also experienced significantly higher infant mortality. Data on body size and estrous cycle length indicated no differences between high- and low-ranking females. Nutritional and stress-related mechanisms that may underlie the reproductive advantages of high rank are discussed.