For many animal species, immatures are less efficient foragers than their adult counterparts and must use multiple strategies to fulfill their nutritional needs through effective learning of social and feeding behaviour. To overcome these challenges, young animals are predicted to rely on adult relatives to gain foraging competency, partly because kin are more likely to tolerate the proximity of immatures, upon which socially facilitated learning of food selection and foraging skills depends. While evidence suggests that mothers improve the foraging success of their offspring, little is known about the potential contribution of fathers to the development of feeding skills. Here, we investigate the influence of both mothers and fathers on the foraging behaviour of young olive baboons (Papio anubis) in Laikipia, Kenya. Behavioural data were gathered via focal animal sampling and genetic relatedness was determined by microsatellite genotyping of non-invasively collected faecal DNA samples. We also conducted analyses to assess the nutritional and energetic content of staple foods consumed by the baboons. We found that, compared to when feeding near unrelated adults or alone, immatures were more likely to consume high energy foods when they were near their mothers and preliminary results suggest access to similar effects when near fathers. These data advance well-documented maternal influences on the foraging competence of offspring in a matrilocal society, and additionally suggest the importance (and possible long-term fitness benefits) of associations between offspring and their fathers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Behavioural ecology