It seems like a good plan. Whether it’s a cute baby or dog a cute defenseless being somehow allows one to better socialize with other. It’s the same for some monkeys as well, but I thought the benefit would be only meeting more females. Turns out I’m wrong.
A new study published in Animal Behavior has found that male Barbary macaques have a better chance of bonding when one is carrying an infant on their back. When the two males meet they undergo a ritual of sorts. Julia Fischer, one of the authors describes it, "[they] sit together, embrace each other, then they hold up the infant and nuzzle it. Their teeth chatter and lip smack while making low frequency grumbling noises."
There are significant benefits to having a bunch of guys as friends as well. One monkey rose from fifth to second place on the social ladder by having the most male friends. The baby also doesn’t even have to belong to male carrying it.
However the research also found a cost to using your baby as a “social tool.” Feces samples taken from males, who carry their babies, showed that they had higher stress levels. Baby macaques sound very similar to human infants when they cry, so its not surprising that the male gets stressed out when this happens.
Social benefits are known to occur for females holding a baby as well (more grooming and attention). Although, I was surprised to learn that the same thing occurred with males getting popular with the other men in the group and rising in rank. Yet another interesting behavior displayed by monkeys.
Posted by Daniel Solomon (3)