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Photo Information
Copyright: Jeff Kerby (jtkerb) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 22 W: 0 N: 88] (410)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-02-05
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon Powershot S3 IS
Exposure: f/3.5, 1/160 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-12-15 12:02
Viewed: 3575
Points: 2
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada) live within a very strict social system. One adult male will have reproductive access to a harem of (presumably) related females, most often sisters. They accept new males as harem leader after assessing his future reproductive worth to their genetics (i.e. he's a fit bloke) with respect the initial cost of his taking over of the group from a settled male (who may be older and already sired several children). These costs include the threat of infanticide or stress induced miscarriage to reset-the-reproductive-clock in a sense of the females so they are sooner able to bear his offspring. Females build relationships with one another through by grooming - sifting through the hair of a partner in search for mites or other irritants. This not only decreases parasite load, but offers a mean of relationship building through touch. Grooming dyads form strong bonds and will defend and support one another during agonistic encounters with other groups or individuals. This presumably has a positive effect on their hierarchy within the family unit and increases their reproductive potential.

In this photo, two geladas groom one another late in the afternoon. Grooming sessions are most common at this time after the geladas have finished their nomadic ranging patterns across the high-plateau where they feed on grass and herbs for the majority of the day.

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  • nat Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 12 W: 0 N: 24] (82)
  • [2010-04-14 15:41]

Hi Jeff,
I'm shocked this photo hasn't had any comments until now. It really captures the comfortable grooming your note describes. The soft background is a good contrast to the more textured hair in the foreground. The composition is perfect, making good use of the rule of thirds. The only thing I would change is the colour tone, from a cool palette to something a bit warmer. One could easily argue that the cool tone provides an interesting contrast to the warm bonds being made by the geladas.


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