Male olive baboons decreased the probability of their being threatened by other males, and increased their relative dominance, if they were carrying infants during encounters with other males. Carrying of infants by males could be hazardous to the infants. However, males also showed other behaviours which were beneficial to infants. Choice of infant for 'exploting' and certain forms of 'caretaking' by males varied with the age of the infant. Both exploitation and caretaking by males were almost completely restricted to those infants which were born after the males' immigration into the infants' troop. Males which exploited infants most often also showed most caretaking behaviours and had resided in that troop the longest. Males that had infants carried against them by other males most often were the most dominant and the youngest sexually mature males. Males still residing in their natal troop chose their matrilineal siblings most often for exploiting and certain caretaking behaviours. The overall effects of close male-infant relations on the fitness of the male and the infant are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Field work was supported by grants from the Ford Foundation and the W.T. Grant Foundation.