BaboonThe olive baboon is one of the largest species of monkey; only the Chacma baboon and the mandrill attain similar sizes.The head-and-body length can range from 50 to 114 cm (20 to 45 in), with a species average of around 85 cm (33 in). At the shoulder on all fours, females average 55 cm (22 in) against males which average 70 cm (28 in). The typical weight range for both sexes is reportedly 10–37 kg (22–82 lb), with males averaging 24 kg (53 lb) and females averaging 14.7 kg (32 lb). Some males may weigh as much as 50 kg (110 lb). Like other baboons, the olive baboon has an elongated, dog-like muzzle. In fact, along with the muzzle, the animal's tail (38–58 cm or 15–23 in) and four-legged gait can make baboons seem very canine. The tail almost looks as if it is broken, as it is erect for the first quarter, after which it drops down sharply. The bare patch of a baboon's rump, famously seen in cartoons and movies, is a good deal smaller in the olive baboon. The olive baboon, like most cercopithecines, has a cheek pouch with which to store food. The olive baboon inhabits a strip of 25 equatorial African countries, very nearly ranging from the east to west coasts of the continent. The exact boundaries of this strip are not clearly defined, as the species' territory overlaps with that of other baboon species.In many places, this has resulted in cross-breeding between species.For example, considerable hybridization has occurred between the olive baboon and the hamadryas baboon in Ethiopia.Cross-breeding with the yellow baboon and the Guinea baboon has also been observed.Although this has been noted, the hybrids have not yet been studied well. Throughout its wide range, the olive baboon can be found in a number of different habitats. It is usually classified as savanna-dwelling, living in the wide plains of the grasslands. The grasslands, especially those near open woodland, do make up a large part of its habitat, but the baboon also inhabits rainforests and deserts. Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for instance, both support olive baboon populations in dense tropical forests. The olive baboon lives in groups of 15–150, made up of a few males, many females, and their young.Each baboon has a social ranking somewhere in the group, depending on its dominance. Female dominance is hereditary, with daughters having nearly the same rank as their mothers,with adult females forming the core of the social system.Female relatives form their own subgroups in the troop.Related females are largely friendly to each other. They tend to stay close together and groom one another, as well as team up in aggressive encounters with other troop members. Female kin form these strong bonds because they do not emigrate from their natal groups.Occasionally, groups may split up when they become so large that competition for resources is problematic, but even then, members of matrilines tend to stick together. Dominant females procure more food, matings, and supporters.
View on the map