Network connections, dyadic bonds and fitness in wild female baboons

Dorothy L. Cheney, Joan Silk, Robert M. Seyfarth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


In many social mammals, females who form close, differentiated bonds with others experience greater offspring survival and longevity. We still know little, however, about how females’ relationships are structured within the social group, or whether connections beyond the level of the dyad have any adaptive value. Here, we apply social network analysis to wild baboons in order to evaluate the comparative benefits of dyadic bonds against several network measures. Results suggest that females with strong dyadic bonds also showed high eigenvector centrality, a measure of the extent to which an individual’s partners are connected to others in the network. Eigenvector centrality was a better predictor of offspring survival than dyadic bond strength. Previous results have shown that female baboons derive significant fitness benefits from forming close, stable bonds with several other females. Results presented here suggest that these benefits may be further augmented if a female’s social partners are themselves well connected to others within the group rather than being restricted to a smaller clique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number160255
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 27 2016


  • Baboons
  • Dyadic bonds
  • Females
  • Fitness
  • Social connections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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