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Abstract

Observations of post-conflict interactions have provided important insights into primate social organization. In this study, the nature and determinants of post-conflict behaviour in a troop of wild olive baboons, Papio anubis, were investigated. Reconciliation was observed among all age-sex classes, occurring at a rate consistent with a relatively intolerant dominance style. Reconciliation was more frequent when one of the combatants carried a dependent infant but rarely followed conflicts associated with food. Neither the directionality nor the decidedness of conflicts affected conciliatory tendency. In contrast, opponents that were close kin or of similar rank reconciled more often. Olive baboons did not affiliate with non-combatants more frequently following aggression than in control periods, although affiliation with supporters and the close kin of opponents increased. Absence of consolation follows the observed cercopithecine pattern, consistent with the hypothesis that consolation requires an ability to empathize with the victim's distress. Initiation of post-conflict attacks on third parties was not elevated in victims of aggression. The rarity of redirection is attributed to spatial dispersion, the frequent bidirectionality of baboon aggression and regular male intervention in female conflicts, all of which appear to limit the availability of ‘safe’ targets.