Baboons keep their grouchy friends happy in the morning so they’ll be nice the rest of the day: Baboons groom other, more powerful members of their groups early in the morning so that they will be favoured through the rest of the day, a study has found.
The animals have long been known to groom each other for ulterior motives. Smaller baboons groom larger ones, swapping the hygiene and stress relief that grooming can bring for access to infants, mating opportunities and better food.
But researchers changed the pattern of some baboons’ day to see how it would change their scheduling, and found that animals tend to groom others earlier on in the day so that they will be favoured in afternoon activities. They showed that subordinate animals changed how they groomed larger ones to ensure that they were treated well at food patches.