The whole troop came down from the trees, and did what it usually does: Sit. Some troops like to wake up at the crack of dawn and burst up the hill, filled with early morning energy. This troop likes to laze about for a bit and take their dear sweet time. I'm very thankful for this.
There comes a time when all good things must come to an end, and the troop must move on to begin the daily foraging routine. What pushes the troop beyond the threshold? Males are believe to play an awfully big role in this process. I witnessed something this day which is an interesting example of a male not displaying power of his troops movements.
Aaron, the alpha, appeared to be growing tired of sitting under the trees, and wished to move toward the feeding grounds, about half a kilometer away, and well within view across the fynbos. Having enough of lounging beneath the pines, Aaron stood up and walked into the fynbos, and sat down on a whitened tree stump about 20 meters into the bushes. Aaron grunted a few times, movement grunts (one of the major categories of baboon grunts). Then, the waiting began.
Nothing changed. The females continued to lay about and groom each other under the trees, and the juveniles continued to play amongst themselves or lay around in silly positions.
Perhaps you didn't hear me the first time, I imagined Aaron thinking. He moved back to the main body of the troop and settled down. He grunted frequently, and slowly moved bit by bit into the fynbos a second time.
And a second time, his advances were ignored by the body of the troop. Defeated, but not showing it (at least to my unaccustomed sapien eyes), Aaron returned to the core of the troop once more, and satisfied himself with a nap on a soft bed of dried needles.
Eventually the troop did enter the fynbos and committed themselves to seeking the feeding grounds. However, their path lay on a different angle from that intended by Aaron, and the alpha was not fearlessly leading the group as he had intended. New questions arise: was someone else leading the troop, like the young adult Damian? And more interestingly, how was the troop mind able to so completely resist Aaron's impulses?