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Animals that live in groups are frequently exposed to conflict situations and must in some way maintain group cohesion. One mechanism that appears to restore social relationships after they have been disrupted by conflict is reconciliation. This study investigated reconciliatory behavior in the gelada baboon, Theropithecus gelada. The subjects were 11 adult geladas, housed in a large outdoor enclosure at the Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Park, New York. Five-minute focal animal samples following spontaneous aggression were compared with 5-min matched-control samples. The results of this study were: (1) geladas reunited in a friendly way after aggression; (2) former opponents were attracted to one another rather than dispersed from one another after a conflict; (3) most post-conflict reunions occurred within the first 2 rain of the post-conflict period; and (4) geladas do not have any specific types of behavior associated with post-conflict reunions as do chimpanzees and macaques. The results of this study support the hypothesis that gelada baboons reconcile after aggression.


This work was originally published in Primates.



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