Variation in environmental conditions during pregnancy and differences in the feeding behavior of females during pregnancy were consistently associated with variation in gestation length among free-ranging yellow baboons, Papio cynocephalus, in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Females whose pregnancies ended during the wet season gave birth after shorter pregnancies than females whose pregnancies ended during the dry season. When rainfall is held constant, another source of variation in gestation length emerges. Females that spent progressively less time feeding over the course of their pregnancies gave birth after longer pregnancies than females that spent progressively more time feeding over the course of their pregnancies. These two factors, which provide rough indices of maternal nutritional status, accounted for a substantial fraction of the observed variation in gestation length among these female baboons.
- fetal development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology