Tuesday, July 13

They Grow Up So Quick

Previously, I told the story of a young juvenile male who represents a broad swatch of perversion in the baboon population ages 2 to 5. They really like to have sex. However, this epidemic of carnal lust extends into the female domain as well.

Female baboons have it rough. That post focused on the violence against females, and briefly touched on their swellings. Females get their first swellings quite young. The swellings aren't very large, but they're definitely there. What isn't there is the ability to reproduce. They'll wish they could, but it takes more than a year usually for the young females to become fertile. Even then, they'll have quite a bit of trouble finding a decent male to mate with.

These females are barely more than juveniles, are not old enough to be as physically strong as mature females, and just don't have mothering experience. There is a good chance that a female will be impregnated by some low ranking sub-adult male, and first two or three babies will all die in infancy because the female isn't strong or experienced enough. After those first few "trial" runs, they'll start attracting the attention of more worthy mates.

All females go through this phase, but seem just a bit small for those enormous swellings. The running theory is that our baboons mature earlier due to their comparatively high calorie diet. They grow in size much quicker than baboons living in the northern bush, but the accelerated growth might not be fully synchronized with the accelerated sexual development, allowing them to develop swellings when they are younger and smaller.

Summarizing Sapolsky, these females are driven crazy by an overdrive of hormones which they're just getting used to, and the males are no help. The males won't touch the females because they know that the potential is low, so the females get little relief from their torment.

We call these young females Lolitas, after Nabokov's original novel... and perhaps after the following mainstream cultural phenomenon. We all had our own reasons. The females are all small compared to the adult males, or sub-adults for that matter, but the Lolitas are almost inconceivably small. All they need do is hold on for a few more years and then they can mate with real males and have adorable baboons babies that everyone in the troop will line up to grunt to. If they have a decent rank in the hierarchy.

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