Garth Bradley was working at his desk in South Africa when something outside the window caught his attention.
A pair of wild baboons who had came from the surrounding hillsides were making their way across his property with one purpose….
…to party in the pool!
Bradley looked at the scene unfolding in front of him, watching the rowdy visitors leap and splash in his pool unashamedly.
“It was enjoyable to watch them having fun,” Bradley shared with The Dodo. “Sort of like watching human kids playing around the pool.”
But it is not the first time the group have swung by.
The group usually drops in to survey his natural garden but their latest visit has proved they are getting more and more comfortable.
“This is the first time they have swam in the pool,” Bradley said.
And while the property is usually for paying guests — it didn’t get under Bradley’s skin to see the monkeys making use of the amenities at no cost to them.
“We chose to live in this area for its natural beauty,” Bradley said. “We have moved into their space, they haven’t moved into ours. It is about tolerance. It would be foolish of us not to expect visitors from the wild.”
Baboons are known to be very social creatures.
In the wild, baboons are known for the highly strategic and hierarchical societies.
And when it come to decision making – one may assume that the rowdy group of monkeys would follow one out of the bunch.
But thanks to a new study of the collective movements of wild olive baboons in Kenya, it has been found that there is a actually a democratic process when it comes to selecting a leader.
And for wild animals, location is everything.
Let’s say for instance, the decision to head north instead of south may lead to a fruiting tree, a pool or a place of shelter — things that could be the difference between life and death.
That being said, animal movements are never random – even when they are searching for things.
Animals will use a specific pattern of movements to sweep their environment.
Social animals species (like monkeys) may not sit down and babble about where to go on the map but they still need to make choices about where the group should be heading.
Multiple theoretical studies reveals that the more you use collective information — the better the decision making process turns out.
So it makes sense for clever animals like baboons to ignore a dominant individual no matter how convincing they are and instead, use a democratic process.
There has since been a limited knowledge about how baboons make decisions about movements.
The issue is how to study both simultaneous and collective decision making in animals that reside in massive groups.
Baboons usually live in groups of around 100.
That being said, high accuracy GPS devices mounted on the majority of the group members is the way to go as this reveals how animals coordinate their movements in relation to one another.
Which leads me to the question: have they ever organized a synchronized swimming session?
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