We humans share a lot of traits with baboons. Here is a top ten cocktail guide to the animal. Use it to impress, or annoy, friends at parties.
1. Baboons are neurotic. Unlike most animals, baboons are emotional cousins of humans. They worry about things. The suffer from psychological stress.
2. Baboons carry their own chairs around on their bodies. Those big colourful bottoms on baboons are called ischial callosities. They are nerveless calluses that have evolved for sitting comfortably.
3. Baboons swing both ways on food. They are omnivorous, which means they will eat meat or vegetables.
4. Baboons eat garbage. Leave your trash can unlocked and baboons will take the easy option of processed leftovers, rather than hunt for fresh food. Sound familiar?
5. Baboons' main threats are humans and leopards. Leopards used to be the number one threat, but they never evolved to the point that they could shoot a rifle or make poison.
6. Male baboons are living a sexual fantasy. Most have several female mates.
7. Baboons can talk. They use over two dozen distinct sounds to communicate. Those range from barks to screams. They also use body language like lip smacking, shoulder shrugging, and yawns.
8. Baboons live in well-organized troops, and the individual is only secure within his own troop. Large, dominant males rule the group and are responsible for keeping order between quarrelsome members and for protecting the group from predators.
9. Female baboons have mastered the quality family time issue. They live among the same group from birth until death. No working late at the office, or going away to college. The girls hang together forever. The guys usually leave their birth family before sexual maturity, go out and establish their own families, and may live in several different family groups over his lifetime.
10. Baboons are not an endangered species worldwide. But in some areas, like Cape Pennisula, South Africa, their numbers are under threat from urban development and human aggression.