Increased aggressive and affiliative display behavior in intrauterine growth restricted baboons

Hillary F. Huber, Susan M. Ford, Thad Q. Bartlett, Peter W. Nathanielsz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: We hypothesized intrauterine growth restricted offspring (IUGR) demonstrate higher rates of aggression and higher dominance ranks than control (CTR) offspring with normal weight at term; if aggressive behavior is advantageous during resource scarcity, developmental programming may lead to an association between aggression and IUGR. Methods: We studied 22 group-housed baboons (ages 3-5 years). CTR (male n = 8, female n = 5) mothers ate ad libitum. IUGR (male n = 4, female n = 5) mothers were fed 70% feed eaten by CTR mothers during pregnancy and lactation. Results: IUGR showed higher rates of aggressive displays (P < 0.01) and friendly displays (P < 0.02). Dominance ranks and physical aggression rates did not differ between groups. Conclusions: High rates of IUGR aggressive display might reflect developmental programming of behavioral phenotypes enhancing fitness. Friendly displays may reflect reconciliation. Potential mechanisms include neurodevelopment and learning. Exploration of IUGR as a risk factor for behavioral patterns is important for developing diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-157
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of medical primatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Behavioral phenotype
  • Developmental programming
  • Dominance
  • Maternal nutrition
  • Nonhuman primate
  • Nutrient restriction
  • Papio
  • Social behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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