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Friday, January 27, 2017

How the male baboons choose their partners.

The female baboon's big red bottom has an aphrodisiac effect on her mates,though this may repel others. Scientists have long thought that baboon males prefer females with bigger backsides as the sign of a good mother, but recent study proves otherwise. The study in the journal Animal Behavior reveals that the size of a female's swollen rump doesn't matter as much as earlier concluded. Baboons breed throughout the year, and mating occurs during times when a female's behind is swollen -- a sign that she may be ovulating. For ten to 20 days each month, the tissue in a female baboon's hindquarters swells up, reaching peak size when a female is most fertile and then shrinking back to normal. The researchers recorded male courtship behavior during the time when females were swollen and they found that big-bottomed females were no more likely to attract mates than their smaller-bottomed counterparts. The males preferred females that had cycled more times since their last pregnancy,rather than going for bigger backsides. Female baboons are like humans they don't start ovulating again right away after having a baby, return to normal cycles when their infant starts weaning, but until that time they're less likely to get pregnant.The results suggest that baby readiness means more to males than the bigger bottom, because rather than size, it seems that males use the number of postpartum cycles as a cue to gauge their likelihood of making a baby. The male baboons seem to follow this law that lesser butt-size is better than bigger.