Being Top Baboon Costs Males Their Longevity
Published:06 Apr.2021    Source:Duke University

A male baboon's social dominance requires constant physical defense and leaves its mark on his genes. Tracing the activity of 500 methylation sites on the baboon genome, a team of researchers working with the famous Amboseli baboon troop has found that the dominant males trade longevity for fecundity. The dominant males get more babies, but they have fewer years. 

New research appearing April 6 in eLife by Jenny Tung, associate professor of evolutionary anthropology and biology at Duke University, and her colleagues shows that male baboons that climb the social ladder age faster than males with lower social standing. If a male drops in social status, his estimated rate of aging drops as well.