Hamadryas Baboon Behaviors

They belong to the same phylogenetic clade of Primates than Homo sapiens. Hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas) miss our ability for a complex facial expression (unlike chimpanzees for example, our sister-group), but we can nevertheless read about their moods, when we look into their faces. When we watch boboons, then many of their behaviors and interactions look familiar to us.

The phylogenetic tree of the Primates (Apes), to which we humans belong, clearly prooves that we derived from old world monkeys due to evolution. Hamadryas baboons live in East Africa and there are well adapted in surviving in a dry environment. They are omnivorous feeders and prefer plants and seeds, but can also hunt smaller mammals or reptiles. This species of baboos is characterized by a specific sexual dimorphism, which represents an apomorphy for P. hamadryas.

Hamadryas baboons and aspects of their social behaviors. Copyrights: Stefan F. Wirth


Males have almost the double size of females, and their fur is silver-white and covered by a conspicuous mantle. The social system is rather complex. But it begins with a very simple society structure, which is called the „one-male unit“, which can be named synonymically a „harem“. Such a unit consists of one dominant male, several females and their infants. Several one-male units can cooperate with each other.

That way a more complicated social hierarchy within the populations is formed. I had primatology courses in Berlin, when I was a student and always had a special fascination for these baboons. That’s why I decided to record this footage in the Berlin Zoologischer Garten.

May 2016/ November 2018. Copyrights Stefan F. Wirth.