Sounds Incredibly Human

How promiscuous baboon fathers help young to succeed

Baboon fathers take a break during ‘siesta time’

The offspring of promiscuous baboon males are more successful when they have contact with their father, scientists have found.

A study by a team of European researchers has documented increased feeding success when foraging with adult male baboons.

Paternity analyses allowed the scientists to determine whether the males were, in fact, the fathers.

The findings are published in the journal Behavioural Ecology.

Paternal care is uncommon in promiscuous mammals where it is not obvious which male actually is the father.

Lead researcher, Dr Elise Huchard of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology, told BBC Nature: “Caring for offspring can be costly in terms of time and energy for the parents.”

She explained that parental care increases the chances of offspring survival, as well as improving an individual’s survival and reproductive performance later on in life.

“Paternal care is usually observed in species where paternity certainty is high, [such as] in monogamous species,” according to Dr Huchard.

So when research suggested that juveniles benefitted from paternal input in promiscuous baboon troops, Dr Huchard and colleagues decided to perform field research on two troops of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) in Tsaobis Leopard Park, central Namibia.

The baboons’ habitat includes closed woodlands and open desert.

Juvenile chacma baboons grow and mature more quickly with paternal input

Juveniles ‘maintain relationships’

Previously, little was known about the role of chacma baboon fathers in their offspring’s survival, other than protecting against infanticide in early life.

Infanticide by adult males is very frequent in chacma baboons, killing up to 30% of juveniles in some baboon populations.

Alternative benefits of paternal behaviour, such as aiding foraging success, had never been investigated.

But research showed that juveniles whose father is present grow and mature more quickly in promiscuous baboon troops.

The scientists used a combination of paternity analyses and natural observations of adult male and juvenile baboons.

Dr Huchard explained: “We carried out many focal observations on each juvenile. One focal observation consists of spending one full hour following a given juvenile and recording everything that he does – like sampling a little slice of his life.”

The researchers recorded what and how much each juvenile ate at given tree or plant, together with which adult males were around, and the proximity of the baboons.

Juvenile baboons are difficult to tell apart in the field as they look very similar to each other.

Dr Huchard’s team had managed to mark every single baboon earlier in the season, which made each of them recognisable.

Juvenile baboons pursue relationships with their fathers

“This allowed us to conduct these detailed observations and to gain unique insights into the daily life of these really young baboons, who are otherwise often ignored by baboon field studies.”

The field results were corroborated by DNA-based paternity analysis tests in the laboratory.

The study proved that juveniles joined their father most often at feeding time, and foraged more successfully with their fathers than without them. They also associated more with their fathers than with other males.

Observations also showed that it was the juveniles, not the fathers, that maintained these associations by following their father.

The study found that juveniles joined their fathers more often when their mother was absent and when another adult male was nearby, suggesting that fathers may provide protection against potential dangers.

Baboon kindergarten

Dr Huchard was originally involved in other areas of research, but was intrigued by behaviours that she observed in the baboon troops.

“I was puzzled by seeing these big males being followed everywhere by their ‘kindergarten’ as well as being incredibly patient with the small baboons. I wanted to understand what these long lasting bonds meant to both adult males and juveniles.

“Previous research in olive baboons had suggested that males could care for unrelated infants as a courtship strategy, in order to seduce the mother.

“So it was exciting to find that in this population, males actually care for their own offspring, which suggests that they are able to discriminate their own offspring and that such bonds do represent paternal care.”

Dr Huchard explained why these findings have great relevance for future research: “It’s now an important goal for future research to identify why some fathers care more than some others, or why some juveniles develop stronger bonds with their father.”

“Understanding these patterns in baboons may help understanding the evolutionary origins of individual variations in paternal behaviour in humans.”

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Sombre Thinking

This is a quote from: Parenting and Stuff in a post The scary world of 12 years old

“I was a 12 years old once (long ago, I admit). I don’t recall that my world was full of suicidal attempts and of girls cutting issues. How did it become so frightening and so violent for children?”

Likewise, I don’t remember all this crap either.

While about one of nine youths attempt suicide by the time they graduate from high school, new findings reveal that a significant proportion make their first suicide attempt in elementary or middle school. Source: Futurity

The first I heard of this type of thing was when a boy across the road tried to hang himself when he was seven to escape his mother. The second incident was a friend of my sister’s son, aged eight, tried the same a few months later.

Both those incidents were in the late 80s.

But certainly in my childhood mid 50s to mid 70s, we never heard about things like this.

It makes me seriously question today’s society and values.

Today we put too much emphasis on various aspects of life, be it fashion, peer pressure, abuse in all it’s forms, bullying, failure in sports, etc, and in doing this we create victims. Not that they weren’t victims before, but in raising the ‘I-am-a-victim’ issue we create a sense of worthlessness, an awareness that devalues life.

Instead, we need to change the paradigm. “Okay, it happened, let’s move on with life.”

When I was a kid and fell off my bike (many times) I simply wiped the blood off my knee and the tears from my eyes and got back on. Today, kids are mollycoddled, “Oh you poor dear,” hugs, disinfectant and bandages or a trip to hospital, lunch at McDonald’s after, TV lying on the sofa served like a king, pamper, pamper, pamper.

Or in the case of abuse, off to the psychologist, months of therapy and anti-depressant pills making another victim more of a victim with even less self-worth.

We didn’t have McDonald’s or psychologists, or pills,  we had a life.

About as ‘Out’ as you can get

Barack Obama made history on Monday when he became the first president to speak about the Stonewall uprising and the gay rights struggle during an inaugural speech.

While many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community were thrilled with the mentions, an 11-year-old transgender girl named Sadie wondered why the President didn’t directly address trans people, too.

“Sadie was so proud of President Obama for including the gay community in his inaugural address on Monday; however, she felt like the trans community wasn’t included,” Sage, Sadie’s mother, told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. “That inspired her to write her own ‘speech.'”

(Transcript below)

“The world would be a better place if everyone had the right to be themselves, including people who have a creative gender identity and expression. Transgender people are not allowed the freedom to do things everyone else does, like go to the doctor, go to school, get a job, and even make friends.

Transgender kids like me are not allowed to go to most schools because the teachers think we are different from everyone else. The schools get afraid of how they will talk with the other kids’ parents, and transgender kids are kept secret or told not to come there anymore. Kids are told not to be friends with transgender kids, which makes us very lonely and sad.

When they grow up, transgender adults have a hard time getting a job because the boss thinks the customers will be scared away. Doctors are afraid of treating transgender patients because they don’t know how to take care of them, and some doctors don’t really want to help them. Transgender patients like me travel to other states to see a good doctor.

It would be a better world if everyone knew that transgender people have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. We like to make friends and want to go to school. Transgender people want to get good jobs and go to doctors like they are exactly the same. It really isn’t that hard to like transgender people because we are like everyone else.”

Sadie socially transitioned from male to female in kindergarten. She was home schooled until this year and is now in fifth grade and attending public school. A vegan, she loves anything that “protects the environment,” as well as reading, swimming, basketball and texting her friends. She listens to Lady Gaga, Pink and Justin Bieber and wants to work for Green Peace when she grows up. She also wants to be a mom.

Though Sadie has been openly discriminated against, her mother says that she “isn’t shy or ashamed of who she is,” and adds, “I’m always ‘on’ when we go out because I never know when she’ll strike up a conversation with the person in front of her in line at Trader Joe’s. When she chats with people, she introduces herself as, ‘Hi, I’m Sadie, my favorite color is pink, I’m vegan, and I’m transgender. Who are you?'”

Sage says she encouraged Sadie to write the essay because she thought “it might help empower her and overcome any feelings of oppression.” In the end she says that she wants Sadie “to know that she has a voice. My dream for her is that she will be happy. That’s all, really. I just want her to be happy.”

Source: Huffington Post Slideshow included

My source: A Heartfelt Wish

The courage of some young people is amazing, if only adults could be the same and show the same wisdom.

Heavy Shit

One of the more deplorable things about the world is football hooliganism.

The violence generated by fans, the fanaticism is totally unwarranted. England has it, Europe has it, here in Brazil we have it. The stooping to the level of barbarians over a game needs to be stamped out, eradicated.

The deaths, injuries and destruction are a blight on sport.

In February 2012 Egypt had a very sad episode where 74 people were killed and more than 450 injured as a result of football hooliganism.

Today in the news, 21 have been sentenced to death.

Now they are having riots against the sentences. Supporters and family have tried to storm the prison where the convicted are incarcerated and two police were shot as a result. – Reported on BBC News

I’m sorry, but they got what was coming to them. I have no qualms with supporting the sentence, maybe it’s a clear message to the rest of the world, you want to be a football hooligan then you maybe next.

I have absolutely ‘zero’ sympathy, although maybe life imprisonment is more appropriate.

The cavalier attitude shown in the subtitle of the book above shows the mindset of these agitators. Society should be showing the same attitude, we don’t care!

Once again, looking at the way the world is shaping, we don’t need these genes in the world gene pool and drastic measures have to be taken to remove this plague.