The Amboseli baboon research project: 40 years of continuity and change


Book Section

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012. All rights are reserved. In 1963, Jeanne and Stuart Altmann traveled through Kenya and Tanzania searching for a baboon study site. They settled on the Maasai-Amboseli Game Reserve (later Amboseli National Park) and conducted a 13-month study that laid the groundwork for much future research. They returned for a short visit in 1969, and came again in July 1971 to establish a research project that has persisted for four decades. In July 1984 Susan Alberts joined the field team, later becoming a graduate student and eventually a director. Over the years, we have tackled research questions ranging from feeding ecology to behavioral endocrinology, from kin recognition to sexual selection, and from aging research to functional genetics. A number of our results have explicitly depended upon the longitudinal nature of the research. Without decades worth of individual-based data we would not have known, for instance, that the presence of fathers influenced the maturation rates of their offspring, that maternal dominance rank had pervasive effects on the physiology of sons, or that the social behavior of a female influenced her infants' survival. Here we summarize the major research themes that have characterized each of the past four decades, and our directions for the future, emphasizing the scientific insights that the longitudinal nature of the study has made possible.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Alberts, SC; Altmann, J

Published Date

  • July 1, 2012

Volume / Issue

  • 9783642225147 /

Book Title

  • Long-Term Field Studies of Primates

Start / End Page

  • 261 - 287

International Standard Book Number 10 (ISBN-10)

  • 3642225136

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9783642225130

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/978-3-642-22514-7_12

Citation Source

  • Scopus