Intergeneric hybrid baboons

Clifford J. Jolly, Tamsin Woolley-Barker, Shimelis Beyene, Todd R. Disotell, Jane E. Phillips-Conroy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Though belonging to genera that have been distinct for several million years, gelada and common baboons - Theropithecus gelada and Papio hamadryas sensu lato, respectively - interbreed occasionally, even in the wild. A female hamadryas at Bihere Tsige Park, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, apparently favored a gelada male over eligible conspecifics and produced several offspring with him. The F1 hybrids were large but developmentally normal. In skull and tooth form, and to a lesser extent in postcranial proportions, they were intermediate between the parental forms but lacked most of their parents' derived, (sub)species-specific epigamic characters. A female infant born to a subadult F1 was sired by a hamadryas. The backcross infant appeared normal and was still flourishing at about 2.5 years. Though perhaps impeded by natural selection against poorly adapted hybrids, theoretically interspecific hybridization could exceed mutation as a source of novel, preadapted genes in the wild.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)597-627
    Number of pages31
    JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 1997


    • Baboons
    • Hybridization
    • Introgression
    • Microsatellites
    • Papio hamadryas
    • Speciation
    • Theropithecus gelada

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Animal Science and Zoology

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  • Cite this

    Jolly, C. J., Woolley-Barker, T., Beyene, S., Disotell, T. R., & Phillips-Conroy, J. E. (1997). Intergeneric hybrid baboons. International Journal of Primatology, 18(4), 597-627.