Life at the Top: Alpha males exhibit much higher stress hormone levels

Life at the Top: Rank and Stress in Wild Male Baboons

Laurence R. Gesquiere1,*, Niki H. Learn1, M. Carolina M. Simao1, Patrick O. Onyango1, Susan C. Alberts2,3 Jeanne Altmann

1 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544. USA.
2 Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.
3 Institute of Primate Research, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya.
4 Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology, University of Nairobi, Chiromo Campus, Post Office Box 30197 00100, Nairobi, Kenya.

Sciencedaily

In social hierarchies, dominant individuals experience reproductive and health benefits, but the costs of social dominance remain a topic of debate. Prevailing hypotheses predict that higher-ranking males experience higher testosterone and glucocorticoid (stress hormone) levels than lower-ranking males when hierarchies are unstable but not otherwise. In this long-term study of rank-related stress in a natural population of savannah baboons (Papio cynocephalus), high-ranking males had higher testosterone and lower glucocorticoid levels than other males, regardless of hierarchy stability. The singular exception was for the highest-ranking (alpha) males, who exhibited both high testosterone and high glucocorticoid levels. In particular, alpha males exhibited much higher stress hormone levels than second-ranking (beta) males, suggesting that being at the very top may be more costly than previously thought.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Top Rated

  • العقل السليم في الجسم السليم

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 27 other followers

  • Meta

  • Blog Stats

    • 124,501 hits
%d bloggers like this: