- Hamadryas Baboon
name = Hamadryas BaboonMSW3 Groves|pages=166-167]
status = LC
trend = unknown
status_system = iucn3.1
status_ref = IUCN2006|assessors=Primate Specialist Group|year=1996|id=16019|title=Papio hamadryas|downloaded=11 May 2006]
genus = "
species = "P. hamadryas"
binomial = "Papio hamadryas"
binomial_authority = (Linnaeus, 1758)
The Hamadryas Baboon ("Papio hamadryas") is a
baboonfrom the Old World monkeyfamily. It is the northernmost of all the baboons; its range extends from the Red Seain Egyptto Eritrea, Ethiopiaand Somalia. It also lives on the Arabian peninsula( Saudi Arabiaand Yemen). The Hamadryas Baboon was a sacred animal to the ancient Egyptians as the attendant of Thoth, and so, is also called the Sacred Baboon.
Apart from the striking size difference between the sexes (males are often twice as large as females) which is common to all baboons, this species also shows
sexual dimorphismin coloration. Males are silver-white colored and have a pronounced cape which they develop around the age of ten, while the females are capeless and brown. Their faces range in color from red to tan to a dark brown that older males often exhibit. Males are an average of 30" tall, with tails about 20" long, and weigh an average of about 45 lbs. Tails end in small tufts. Infants are dark in coloration and lighten after about one year. Hamadryas baboons reach sexual maturity at about 51 mo. for females and between 57 and 81 mo. for males. [Rowe, Noel. The Pictorial Guide to Living Primates, Pogonias Press (Charlestown, Rhode Island: 1996)]
The average life span of Hamadryas baboons in the wild is about 35 years.
Ecology and behavior
The Hamadryas Baboon lives in semi-desert areas, savannas and rocky areas, requiring cliffs for sleeping and possibilities to drink water. It has an unusual 4-level social system called a
fission-fusion society. Most social interaction occurs within small groups ( harems) containing one male and up to ten females which the males lead and guard. A harem will typically include a younger "follower" male, but he will not attempt to mate with the females unless the older male is removed. Two to four harems unite repeatedly to form clans, and two to four clans form a band of up to 60 individuals (which usually travels and sleeps as a group). Several bands may come together to form a troop, then several troops share a cliff-face which they sleep on. [Rowe, Noel. The Pictorial Guide to Living Primates. Pogonias Press (Charlestown, Rhode Island: 1996.)]
The Hamadryas Baboon is patriarchal, unlike the other baboon species. Females do most of the parenting. Like other baboons, the Hamadryas Baboon breeds aseasonally.
The males herd their females with visual threats. They will grab or bite any female that wanders too far away. Males will sometimes raid harems for females, resulting in aggressive fights. When a new male takes over a female, she may go into deceptive estrous cycles. This behavior is likely an adaptation that functions to prevent the new male from killing the offspring of the previous male. Typicaly, a male forms a harem by "adopting" subadult females and teaching them to follow him. He protects them and in 1-2 years, they go into estrus.
The Hamadryas Baboon is
omnivorousand is adapted to its relatively dry habitat. It is not discriminating in its search for food, eating anything from grasses and roots to insects and small vertebrates. Hamadryas baboons will dig for water in dry streambeds.
Hamadryas baboons are diurnal and have the largest day ranges of any primate.
Hamadryas baboons are often depicted in ancient Egyptian art as the sacred attendants of
Thoth, scribe to the gods. Occasionally Thothalso appears in the form of a hamadryas (often depicted carrying the moon on his head), as an alternative to his usual depiction as an ibis-headed figure. Hapi, one of the Four Sons of Horusthat guarded the organs of the deceased, is hamadryas-headed and thus often sculpted as the lid of a canopic jar. Hamadryas baboons were revered because certain behaviors that they perform were seen as worshiping the sun, and they were viewed as mediators between humans and the gods.
Transformation of field and pastureland represents the main threat of the Hamadryas Baboon, its natural enemies (the
leopardand the lion) having been nearly exterminated in their range. The IUCNlists it as near threatened.
* [http://www.baboonsonline.com/filoha/ The Filoha Hamadryas Project]
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