Growth in colony living anubis baboon infants and its relationship with maternal activity budgets and reproductive status

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Abstract

Early growth is of interest because it is susceptible to maternal effects and linked to fitness components for a range of species. Here we present anthropometric measurements on 23 infant olive baboons born into a captive colony in order to describe growth over the first 2 years of life, to explore maternal influences on growth, and to assess the impact of growth profiles on maternal reproduction. Six main findings emerged: 1) Infant growth rates in our colony were higher than those reported for wild populations but comparable to those observed for food-enhanced animals. 2) The ratio of infant mass to maternal mass was positively associated with reproductive parameters, such as duration of post-partum amenorrhea and interbirth interval. 3) Mothers resumed cycling and reconceived when their infants attained a relatively consistent threshold mass. 4) Infant mass-for-age was associated with maternal rank and, independently, with maternal mass such that females of high dominance rank and heavy females had relatively large infants at their resumption of cycling. 5) Low-ranking and lighter females had longer investment periods but smaller infants. They continued investment in infant through prolonged lactation until their infants reached a mass similar to that of infants of high-ranking/heavy mothers, suggesting that the lengthening of investment is essentially compensatory for slow early growth. 6) There was no relationship between infant growth and maternal activity budgets. Maternal physical and social factors, not energetics, contributed to differences among infants in growth trajectories, and infant growth temporally influenced successive reproductive events. Am J Phys Anthropol 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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