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Filoha Hamadryas Project

Hamadryas baboons traveling
A hamadryas one-male unit leaving the sleeping site to begin its daily travel route.
The Filoha Hamadryas Project is a long-term field project focusing on the behavioral biology of hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas).  Based at the Filoha outpost of Awash National Park in Ethiopia, the project focuses on a population of hamadryas baboons inhabiting the northern part of the park and areas to the north of the park.  The primary focus of our research over the years has been Band 1, numbering about 200 baboons.  Several other bands also frequent the region, one of which, Band 3, has also been the subject of study by members of our team.  Each hamadryas band uses multiple cliffs as sleeping sites, one of which is the Filoha cliff, located at the Filoha outpost (right).  Sleeping sites are scattered throughout their home range, which we now know to be over 80 square kilometers.
hamadryas baboon male with Filoha camp in background
A male and juvenile on top of the Filoha sleeping cliff.  The Filoha outpost is in the background.

A hamadryas male grooming a female.
A hamadryas male grooms a female on top of the Filoha sleeping cliff.

The project began with Larissa Swedell's PhD research in 1996-1998 focusing on behavioral ecology (Swedell 2002b, 2006) and the reproductive and social strategies of females (Swedell 2000, 2002a, 2006).  Work at Filoha since then has continued to elucidate the behavioral mechanisms underlying their unique, male-dominated multi-level social system (e.g., Pines et al., 2011, 2015; Swedell et al., 2011) as well as further details about their feeding and spatial ecology (e.g., Schreier 2010), social system (e.g., Schreier and Swedell 2009), socioecology (e.g., Schreier and Swedell 2012), patterns and modes of dispersal (Swedell and Schreier 2009; Swedell et al., 2011; Staedele et al., 2015), and kinship within and among social units (Staedele et al., 2016).
The doum palm (Hyphaene thebaica), the main food source of the Filoha baboons.

The Filoha sleeping cliff.

Most recently, our team has been focusing on (1) sexual conflict, in particular the coercive behavior of hamadryas males, its costs for females, and ways in which females might mitigate these costs (Swedell et al., 2014; Amann et al., 2017); and (2) the adaptive value of social relationships in hamadryas society, including the ways in which leader males may benefit from the presence of follower males in their units (Chowdhury et al., 2015).  Graduate students at the City University of New York are currently working on projects focusing on the socioendocrinology of takeovers, spatial ecology, nutritional ecology, and the genetics of social behavior, and we are collaborating with others on projects related to parasite ecology, functional morphology, and the gut microbiome.
The Wasaro sleeping cliff.

The Filoha Hamadryas Project has been generously funded over the years by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, the Leakey Foundation, and the PSC-CUNY Award Program of the City University of New York.
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Filoha Publications

Amann, A.L., Pines, M. and Swedell, L. 2017. Contexts and consequences of takeovers in hamadryas baboons: female parity, reproductive state, and observational evidence of pregnancy loss. American Journal of Primatology 79: e22649.

Chowdhury, S., Pines, M., Saunders, J., & Swedell, L. 2015. The adaptive value of secondary males in the polygynous multi-level society of hamadryas baboons. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 158(3): 501-513.

Matsuda I, Zhang P, Swedell L, Mori U, Tuuga A, Bernard H, Sueur C 2012. Comparisons of inter-individual relationships among non-human primates living in multi-level social systems. International Journal of Primatology 33: 1038-1053.

Pines, M. and Swedell, L. 2011. Not without a fair fight: Failed abductions of females in wild hamadryas baboons.  Primates 52: 249-252.

Pines, M., Saunders, J. and Swedell, L. 2011. Alternative routes to the leader male role in a multi-level society: follower versus solitary male strategies and outcomes in hamadryas baboons. American Journal of Primatology 73: 679-691.

Pines, M., Chowdhury, S., Saunders, J., & Swedell, L. (2015) The rise and fall of leader males in a multi-level society: takeovers and tenures of male hamadryas baboons. American Journal of Primatology 77: 44-55.

Schreier A. 2010. Feeding ecology, food availability and ranging patterns of wild hamadryas baboons at Filoha. Folia Primatologica 81:129-145.

Schreier A, Grove M. 2010. Ranging patterns in hamadryas baboons: Random walk analyses. Animal Behaviour 80: 75-87.

Schreier A, Grove M. 2014. Recurrent Patterning in the Daily Foraging Routes of Hamadryas Baboons (Papio hamadryas): Spatial Memory in Large-Scale Versus Small-Scale Space. American Journal of Primatology 76: 421-435.

Schreier A, and Swedell L. 2008. Use of palm trees as a sleeping site by hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas hamadryas) in Ethiopia. American Journal of Primatology 70:107-113.

Schreier A, and Swedell L. 2009. The fourth level of social structure in a multi-level society: Ecological and social functions of clans in hamadryas baboons. American Journal of Primatology 71:948-955.

Schreier, A. and Swedell, L. 2012a. Ecology and sociality in a multilevel society: ecological determinants of spatial cohesion in hamadryas baboons. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 148(4): 580-588.

Schreier A, Swedell L. 2012b. The socioecology of network scaling ratios in the multilevel society of hamadryas baboons. International Journal of Primatology 33: 1069-1080.

Staedele, V., Van Doren, V., Pines, M., Swedell, L., & Vigilant, L. 2015. Fine-scale genetic assessment of sex-specific dispersal patterns in a multilevel primate society.  Journal of Human Evolution 78: 103-113.

Staedele, V., Pines, M., Swedell, L. and Vigilant, L., 2016. The ties that bind: Maternal kin bias in a multilevel society despite natal dispersal by both sexes. American Journal of Primatology 78: 731-744.

Swedell L. 2000. Two takeovers in wild hamadryas baboons. Folia Primatologica 71:169-172.

Swedell, L. 2002a. Affiliation among females in wild hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas hamadryas). International Journal of Primatology 23: 1205-1226.

Swedell, L. 2002b. Ranging Behavior, Group Size, and Behavioral Flexibility in Ethiopia Hamadryas Baboons (Papio hamadryas hamadryas).  Folia Primatologica 73:95-103.

Swedell, L. 2006. Strategies of Sex and Survival in Hamadryas Baboons: Through A Female Lens. Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Swedell, L. 2013. Hamadryas Baboon (Papio hamadryas).  IN The Mammals of Africa, Vol. 2, Primates, edited by T. Butynski, J. Kingdon, & J. Kalina.  London: Bloomsbury Publishing, pp. 221-224.

Swedell, L. & Chowdhury, S. 2016. Hamadryas Baboon: Papio hamadryas.  IN All the World's Primates, edited by N. Rowe & M. Myers.  Charlestown, RI: Pogonias Press, pp. 436-437.

Swedell L, Hailemeskel G, Schreier A. 2008. Composition and Seasonality of Diet in Wild Hamadryas Baboons: Preliminary Findings from Filoha. Folia Primatologica 79: 476-490.

Swedell, L., Leedom, L., Saunders, J., & Pines, M. 2014. Sexual conflict in a polygynous primate: costs and benefits of a male-imposed mating system. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 68: 263-273.

Swedell, L. & Plummer, T. 2012. A Papionin Multi-Level Society as a Model for Hominin Social Evolution. International Journal of Primatology 33: 1165-1193.

Swedell, L. and Saunders, J. 2006. Infant mortality, paternity certainty, and female reproductive strategies in hamadryas baboons.  IN Reproduction and Fitness in Baboons: Behavioral, Ecological, and Life History Perspectives, edited by L. Swedell & S. Leigh.  New York: Springer, pp. 19-51.

Swedell L, Saunders J, Schreier A, Davis B, Tesfaye T, Pines M. 2011. Female "dispersal" in hamadryas baboons: Transfer among social units in a multilevel society. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 145: 360-370.

Swedell, L. and Schreier, A. 2009. Male aggression towards females in hamadryas baboons: Conditioning, coercion, and control.  IN Sexual Coercion in Primates and Humans, edited by M.N. Muller & R.W. Wrangham.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 244-268.

Swedell L, Tesfaye T. 2003. Infant Mortality After Takeovers in Wild Ethiopian Hamadryas Baboons. American Journal of Primatology 60: 113-118.