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How baboons fight and use their canines
#1
Gato Gordo Wrote:A scientific study on how baboons fight and use their canines.

I have always been puzzled by the fact that male baboons and mandrills have truly impressive stabbing canines. 

The only carnivorous predator having such long canines (relative to its size) is the clouded leopard. However, the CL is a predator that has a lot of morphological features of saber tooth felines and uses these fangs to kill relatively large game by nape bites. 

As a contrast, baboons and mandrills only hunt hares and small antelopes. Other carnivores (felines, canids, bears, hyenas) lack dagger like canines and yet kill impressive prey.

All cats use their stabbing canines to kill opponents in intra-specific fights. There is evidence that jaguars, CL's, pumas, leopards and tigers have killed prey and same species opponents by skull or nape bites. It is not outlandish to speculate that big cats may also attempt skull or nape bites against a contender of another species in a hypothetical fight.

Now, what about baboons and mandrills? How do they use their 5 cm (2 inches) long canines? They don't use it to kill large game, so they should use them in intra-specific fights and against their predators. 

But then, what is their biting technique? how do they injury and kill with their fangs when they fight? Do they attempt a stabbing bite like a jaguar or a CL?

I found a very interesting and useful article that explains all this:  how baboons fight and inflict injuries in their intra-specific fights:

[Image: BI_title.jpg]

The article can be read in full in this link:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/14209899/Conte...Drews-1996

The article studied the aggressive interactions and patters of fighting and inflicting injuries in a population of four yellow baboon troops in the Mikumi National Park in Tanzania, observed for 164 days spanning a total of 16 months between May 1990 and November 1991.

This article contains a lot of information (which I will place also in the profile section of baboons). 

PLEASE READ: For the benefit of posters who just want to know what are the main findings, I summarize them below. Those posters who want to see the detail are kindly invited to look at the relevant excepts of the article in the following post.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS. 
  •   Male baboons use their canines to slash, not to bite
  •   Practically all injuries in male-male fights are slashes from the canines and are heavily concentrated on the anterior part of the body, specially on the head, but also on the neck, arms, chest and shoulders
  •   In the most common fighting behavior (sparring) male baboons throw their muzzle to strike (slash), aiming at the head of the opponent, and after grappling him with his arms. Thus, both contenders are usually hurt as both expose themselves to the same attack/retaliation
  • Much less common fighting behaviors are mutual and non-mutual biting and mauling (not slashing) and wrestling
  • Male baboons also deliver blows and slaps and may use their arms or their muzzles to fend off these blows. Their canines may have structural adaptation to resist lateral impacts (this is not proven in the article)
  • Male baboons remain quadruped as they fight, but may wrestle some times 
  • Male baboons slap and grapple each other with their arms and sometimes sweep the opponent's forelimbs to induce a loss of balance
  • In the population studied, injuries resulted in 0.04% of all male-male interactions, in 0.4 % of aggressive interactions and only in 8% of aggressive interactions that escalated to a fight. This translates on average to an injured male every 47 days 
  • Typically there is only one wound per fight and outcomes of fights are rarely lethal (typical time of healing is three weeks)
  • Mortality from fights is rare and mostly occurs in coalition fights (but there is debate on this)
  • Mortality seems to occur as a consequence of the wounds, but not during the fight.
  • The patterns observed in this study (yellow baboons) also occur in different baboon populations, with some minor variations. 
PLEASE READ: I believe that the information posted in this thread will change the way we assess the outcomes of hypothetical fights between  baboons (and likely mandrills) and carnivore predators.  However, I decided NOT to post at this time my interpretation of how this information may change my stance in these matches. Rather, I am ONLY posting the new info and will comment after I read the posters' response to this thread. 

NEXT POST: THE EXCERPTS.  

 

Gato Gordo Wrote:EXCERPTS

Summary of the article

[Image: BI_summary1.jpg]
[Image: BI_summary2.jpg]

The introduction reviews the literature. The following passage describes the movement patterns in aggressive episodes between adult males are:

[Image: BI_general_patterns.jpg]
  • the most common pattern is "chasing", which lasts 12.5 sec on average
  • the second most common is "sparring": partners stand facing each other, grappling with the arms and hit one another about the head ("hitting" means trying to slash with their canines)
  • Less common behaviors include, mutual and non-mutual biting, non-mutual mauling and wresting
 

The following excerpt describes the canines: notice the comment on the possible adaptation of canines to lateral impact

[Image: BI_canines1.jpg]
[Image: BI_canines1.jpg]

The following extract describes how the interactions between the baboons was observed and recorded. The author defines "fight" as "the section of an agonistic contest, in which aggressive, bodily contact occurs"

[Image: BI_methodology.jpg]

FIGHT DESCRIPTION.

The following is perhaps the most important excerpt, as it describes the observed fight patterns:

[Image: BI_results_descr_fights.jpg]

Notice the following relevant sentences:
  • "In fights, males use their canines in a slashing rather than biting motion"
  • "Males used  their muzzle both to strike and to fend off opponent's blows"
  • "Contestants remained quadrupedal during fights, but used single hands to slap the opponent, sometimes sweeping its forelimbs away thus inducing a loss of balance"
  • "Contestants remained quadrupedal during fights, but used single hands to slap the opponent, sometimes sweeping its forelimbs away thus inducing a loss of balance"
  •   "Exchanges of canine blows and hand slaps …. did not last more than 5 sec"
  •   "Complete fighting sequences, which may include brief grappling bouts, did not exceed 30 sec"
  • "male baboon fights SUPERFICIALLY resemble carnivore fights (canines used offensively and defensively and sweeping in a "judo-like" fashion)."
TYPES AND CAUSES OF INJURY

Practically all wounds (98%) can be confidently attributed to canine action during intraspecific fights


[Image: types_injuries1.jpg]

[Image: types_injuries2.jpg]

[Image: BI_table1.jpg]

LOCATION OF INJURIES

Notice how injuries are heavily concentrated in the anterior part of the body (usually in the right side):

[Image: location1.jpg]

[Image: location2.jpg]

[Image: location3.jpg]


FREQUENCY OF INJURIES

Only 8% of "escalated contests" result in injury. A male is wounded every 47 days on average.

[Image: BI_results_frequency1.jpg]
[Image: BI_results_frequency2.jpg]

These are not necessarily grave wounds or lethal. This is the distribution of number of injuries per fight (most fights yield only one wound):

[Image: woundsperfight.jpg]

MUTUAL RETALIATION = MUTUAL WOUNDING

This passage is very important, as it explains how the attack method (slash with canines) also exposes the attacker to the same retaliation. Thus mutual injury is extremely likely, which leads to a tendency to avoid escalation of interactions into fights.

[Image: mutualinjury.jpg]

Notice the following comments:
  • "canines are an inefficient organ when used to parry the opponent's slashes"
  • "simultaneous injury is at the instant of striking, the attacker exposes itself counter-attack"
MORTALITY:

The following texts discuss the mortality from baboon-baboon fights:

[Image: BI_disc_mortality1.jpg]
[Image: BI_disc_mortality2.jpg]

Judging from the examples in this text, it seems that 
  • death occurs in the aftermath of the fights (from infection of slashing wounds) and not in the fight itself
  • death occurs more in coalition fights
COMPARISON WITH OTHER BABOON POPULATIONS.

In general other populations follow the same patterns as those observed in the study  population of yellow baboons, with some minor variations:

[Image: diffbabs1.jpg]

[Image: diffbabs2.jpg]

RITUALIZATION 

Baboon fights are not "rituals" but real fights that fit an ecological pattern (reproductive gain, priority in use of resources, etc). Their frequency is similar to fights among other primates:

[Image: BI_disc_patterns_rituals.jpg]

CONCLUSION

Male baboons are frequent brawlers and get wounded frequently, even if escalation to fights is avoided (because of the involved risks). 

[Image: BI_conclusion.jpg]
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#2
221Extra Wrote:This is relevant, I believe:

221extra Wrote:And from the same book, a note of the caution that male Hamadryas Baboons have involving their canines in conflict against other Baboons:

[Image: Baboonbitecaution_zpsd61eae06.png]

I find it important because it shows Baboons don't necessarily/usually fight to their capabilities in intraspecific conflict; on account of recognizing the risks involved from doing so because of their weaponry. This should reinforce that looking at Baboon intraspecific conflict as the the end-all of how Baboons would fight another opponent, say a Leopard or a Dog wouldn't be accurate. Tho I believe I & a few others have provided more then enough evidence to back that up. I just still wanted to get the point across!  Tongue

From: "In Quest of the Sacred Baboon: A Scientist's Journey"

 

Gato Gordo Wrote:
Quote:I find it important because it shows Baboons don't necessarily/usually fight to their capabilities in intraspecific conflict; on account of recognizing the risks involved from doing so because of their weaponry. This should reinforce that looking at Baboon intraspecific conflict as the the end-all of how Baboons would fight another opponent, say a Leopard or a Dog wouldn't be accurate. Tho I believe I & a few others have provided more then enough evidence to back that up. I just still wanted to get the point across! Tongue

Perhaps you are right: male baboons only use a minimal part of their full biting potential in their intra-specific fights. However, these are the type of fights they actually do with relatively high frequency, as a deadly encounter with a dog or leopard is rare. So, we may also say (from the data) that most male baboons go from birth to death without ever using this full potential to kill. This means the average male baboon will lack the skill, precision, ability, etc that comes from the frequent practice. In other words, even if we admit to their having this superior potential, without frequent practice there is no guarantee that this potential can be materialized as efficiently (in practice) as a contender with lesser potential but much more practice. 

Anyway, this subject has been debated a lot without ever reaching agreement. 

Canidae Wrote:I remember the account of the two baboons killing the leopard was posted on the old forum in the relevant thread.
Things to consider were : The leopard in question was already injured.
: The baboons ambushed the cat by dropping down onto it from a tree and one was killed anyway.
: The baboons killed the cat by puncturing the throat - accomplished by a verticle ambush and highly unlikely to occur in a face to face fight on open ground.

Comparing the baboons to the wild dogs incident seems asinine to upgrade or downgrade the other as the baboons had advantages the dogs didn't ( a tree to say the least) and the dog incident is not fully known. 

I doubt 2 male baboons would prevail in a frontal, open fight against a tom as a big male can swiftly and easily kill a male baboon with incident : "Another impressive sighting of leopard and baboon interaction was about a month ago when Levi spotted a female leopard being harassed by a big troop of baboons during a morning drive. The female managed to run away and escaped the screams, shouts and angry male baboons with her life. The dominant male leopard Tyson (the biggest male leopard I have ever seen) arrived out of the blue. The now over confident male baboons foolishly tried the same tactics with this powerhouse male leopard and needless to say� got hammered. The male reacted like lightning and killed a big male baboon without breaking a sweat, I think that troop of baboons are still running and will think twice before picking a fight with the wrong guy again!"

http://www.chiawa.com/omnewsletters/old_...etter4.htm
And similarly how a single, young female leopard can frontally kill an adult male baboon.


But debating the question of how many are neccesary to bring down a healthy tom frontally is a good point of discussion. Kingdon reports an account of 5 male baboons in Somalia killing a tom leopard, which may either be the smaller Hamadrayas Baboon (45 - 65 lbs) or the much larger Yellow Baboon.
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#3
Gato Gordo Wrote:This is the `leopard vs two baboons' incident that was witnessed by Marais and cited in several books (Turnbull-Kemp, Bailey and others):

Quote:It was still dusk. The troop [of baboons] had only just returned from the feeding grounds and had barely time to reach its scattered places in the high piled rocks behind the fig tree. Now it shrilled its terror and Marais could see the leopard. It appeared from the bush and took its insolent time. So vulnerable were the baboons that the leopard seemed to recognize no need for hurry. He crouched just below a little jutting cliff observing his prey and the problems of the terrain and Marais saw two male baboons edging along the cliff above him.
 The two males moved cautiously; the leopard, if he saw them, ignored them. His attention was fixed on the swarming, screeching, defenseless horde scrambling among the rocks. The two males dropped. They dropped on him from the height of twelve feet. One bit at the leopard's spine. The other struck at his throat while clinging to his neck from below. In an instant the leopard disemboweled with his hind claws the baboon hanging to this neck and caught in his jaws the baboon on his back. But it was too late. The dying disemboweled baboon had hung on just long enough and had reached the leopard's jugular vein with his canines.
 Marais watched while movement stilled beneath the little jutting cliff. Night fell. Death, hidden from all but the impartial stars, enveloped prey and predator alike and in the hollow places in the rocky, looming krans, a society of animals settled down to sleep.

 [Robert Ardry, African Genesis (N.Y., Atheneum Publishers, 1961) p. 81.]

Several points emerge from this incident IMO:

(1)  Baboon's vulnerability to clawing. Even if we take issue with the accuracy of the report, the fact is that the baboon was eviscerated. Evisceration is practically not reported as cause of death in leopard or big cat killing of other predators: jackals, AWD's, dogs, other leopards, the exception is one case in a leopard vs leopard fight. However, evisceration is reported on primates: not only this case but the gorilla case reported by Schaller. I think there is no controversy on this issue.  

(2) Baboons need to grab with their hands to kill with their fangs: "The other [baboon] struck at his [the leopard's] throat while clinging to his neck from below". This is consistent with the fact that killing with large canines can only be done by a deep stabbing bite, and such bite needs a very good anchor which a baboon can only achieve by grabbing the target's body with his hands (a feline would get this anchor by hooking with claws). IMO, all this explains why baboons can be lethal to non-dexterous contenders (dogs) that have harder time to prevent the baboon from seizing its body and getting the right anchor, but much less so for felines that can prevent this (or make it harder) by swiping at an approaching baboon. If two baboons are attacking the feline,  then their chances to grab with their hands increases. Since a male leopard is much larger and powerful, this explains why a single baboon wouldn't stand a chance. Facing smaller or female leopards or felines like the CL would increase the baboon chances, but (for the reasons I mentioned) the felines would still have a slight edge over a single baboon IMO. 

(3) The baboon bite is lethal. One of the baboons was able to grab and anchor the bite and did pierce the leopard's jugular vein. In this point I agree with 221. However, the issue of "practice" still remains and is not disproved by this account. Of course a male baboon "knows" how to stab-bite, but the bite is just the end of the process after the wrestling/subduing and anchoring stages. In the whole process the baboon with little practice in killing with a deep bite will never have the same success probability as a contender with a lot of practice in subduing and killing prey and other contenders (even if the latter's weaponry is less impressive).   
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#4
It was looking for the account where two baboons killed a male leopard. Glad to find it. Essentially the leopard was ambushed and still one of the baboons died.
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#5
there is a case of evisceration in a leopard vs leopard encounter? anyone know where this is from?

http://www.chiawa.com/omnewsletters/old_...etter4.htm

And similarly how a single, young female leopard can frontally kill an adult male baboon.


This link doesnt work, anyone know the story or have another link?
 [Image: 75TiAZC.jpg]
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#6
Your link doesn't work, my dude.
There are many types of people in this world; None of them are as smart as they think they are.
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#7
To those who still believe baboons only slash when they bite I suggest they read this thread & the dogs vs baboons thread in archive if possible, some very quality discussion in this thread especially.
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#8
Nice to see you back, 221 extra.
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#9
(03-23-2019, 02:32 PM)221extra Wrote: To those who still believe baboons only slash when they bite I suggest they read this thread & the dogs vs baboons thread in archive if possible, some very quality discussion in this thread especially.

That is probably the difference between an intraspecific fight and an interspecific fight.
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