Domestic violence in humans is manifested by psychologically and emotionally incapacitated men. But in wild baboons, males resort to violence against pregnant or lactating females in the gruesome hope that they can expedite their chance to reproduce and mate again.
Having to wait until a female gives birth and becomes sexually available again is causing male baboons reproductive pressure that made them launch an attack against females and their offspring, leaving females and infants dead.
A long term study of wild baboons in Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya found that male baboons that moved in to new groups were responsible for roughly 2 percent of infant deaths and 6 percent of miscarriages between 1978 and 2015.
Domestic violence tripled when males forced to move into a group with few fertile females, said first author Matthew Zipple, a graduate student at Duke University.
After examining the census records, researchers discovered a spike in infant deaths and lost pregnancies two weeks after a new male moved in to a new group.
"In situations where males have few opportunities, they resort to violence to achieve what's necessary to survive and reproduce," Zipple said. "When reproductive opportunities abound, this behavior is less frequent."
A troop of baboons usually compromised with newly arriving males that had left their previous group so they could find an opportunity to reproduce and pass their genes elsewhere.
In these desperate times of having no mating prospects at all, male baboons shortens their waiting time by attacking females and killing fetuses.
The researchers published their findings in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
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