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Data from gelada baboons, Theropithecus gelada, were used to test the hypothesis of Martin (Anim. Behav., 1982, 30, 294-295) and Lee (Behaviour, 1984, 91, 245-261; Primate Ontogeny, Cognition and Social Behaviour, 1986, Ed. by J. Else & P. C. Lee, Cambridge University Press, pp. 227-237) that the incidence of play behaviour among immature animals can be used as an indicator of environmental conditions. The results provide substantial support for the hypothesis: both the quality of play (percentage of time spent playing, number of play bouts per hour) and play quality (high-energy versus low-energy actions) were significantly correlated with rainfall, and hence with habitat quality. © 1992 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Original publication




Journal article


Animal Behaviour

Publication Date





111 - 115