Baboons groom their dominant friends for favours

London, Baboons groom dominant members of their group in the morning hoping for better treatment throughout the day, research has shown.

Grooming among baboons helps relieve stress and improves hygiene.

Smaller baboons groom the larger ones, for access to infants, mating opportunities and better food.

The more dominant a baboon in the group, the earlier it gets its treat.

"Subordinates were more likely to groom the more dominant individuals earlier in the day, when most foraging activities still lay ahead and the need for tolerance at shared feeding sites was greatest," said Claudia Sick, from University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Scientists know that strong social bonds develop in animal groups after years together and these bonds help in the fitness of members.

So they expected individuals to work on only such long-term relationships. However, the study has shown that relationships also vary over months and weeks and the social strategies of baboons are also flexible over short periods of time.

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