Babouin de Guinée perché sur un rocher.

The Guinea baboon

Papio papio

The Guinea baboon, Papio papio, is a primate from the Cercopithedicae family and lives in the African savanna. It spends most of its time on the ground. It can travel up to 8 km on four legs and only climbs up tall trees to sleep.

Babouin de Guinée perché sur un rocher.

Babouin de Guinée

© MNHN - F.-G. Grandin


These omnivorous, gregarious monkeys live in hierarchical groups of between 8 and 200 individuals in the savannahs and forests of East Africa, Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, Mali and Mauritania. Each clan has its own territory.

Baboon society is matriarchal. Despite demonstrations of strength by dominant males, it is the females who dominate and their descendants who form the dynasties. They manage conflicts, and in the wild they are the ones who explore territories and share knowledge of trees and their fruits.

Distinctive features

The Guinea baboon is the smallest of the five known baboon species. Like its cousins, the swelling of its ano-genital area, which varies in colour from red to purple depending on the species, indicates monthly ovulation in females.


The grooming of young and adult animals has an essential function within a group, not only for reasons of hygiene (as they rid themselves of parasites) but also to ease tension and strengthen the cohesion of the clan. Researchers have shown that these grooming sessions stimulate the production of endorphins, which provide a feeling of well-being.

Babouin de Guinée sur un rocher.

Babouins de Guinée

© MNHN - F.-G. Grandin
Gros plan sur la tête d'Uyuni, la femelle babouin de Guinée.

Uyuni, la femelle babouin de Guinée (Papio papio)

© MNHN - F.-G. Grandin

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