It’s just after daybreak on a plain at the edge of Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya. In a fever tree grove, a troop of nearly 70 yellow baboons is getting an easy start to the morning. A few late risers sleep on in the upper branches, but the others have been dropping down to the scrubby grass, one by one.
Hiawatha, a six-year-old female, is picking through the coat of her older sister, Hoja, removing dirt and bugs. “It’s like somebody waking up, taking a shower, brushing your teeth and combing your hair,” Kinyua Warutere, a senior field assistant for the Amboseli Baboon Research Project, says quietly. “Before they set out, they’ll socialize in such a way. Mothers will groom kids. Friends will groom friends.”