1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Baboon
|←Babirusa|| 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 3
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BABOON (from the Fr. babuin, which is itself derived from Babon, the Egyptian deity to whom it was sacred), properly the designation of the long-muzzled, medium-tailed Egyptian monkey, scientifically known as Papio anubis; in a wider sense applied to all the members of the genus Papio (formerly known as Cynocephalus) now confined to Africa and Arabia, although in past times extending into India. Baboons are for the most part large terrestrial monkeys with short or medium-sized tails, and long naked dog-like muzzles, in the truncated extremity of which are pierced the nostrils. As a rule, they frequent barren rocky districts in large droves, and are exceedingly fierce and dangerous to approach. They have large cheek-pouches, large naked callosities, often brightly coloured, on the buttocks, and short thick limbs, adapted rather to walking than to climbing. Their diet includes practically everything eatable they can capture or kill. The typical representative of the genus is the yellow baboon (P. cynocephalus, or babuin), distinguished by its small size and grooved muzzle, and ranging from Abyssinia to the Zambezi. The above-mentioned anubis baboon, P. anubis (with the subspecies neumanni, pruinosus, heuglini and doguera), ranging from Egypt all through tropical Africa, together with P. sphinx, P. olivaceus, the Abyssinian P. lydekkeri, and the chacma, P. porcarius of the Cape, represent the subgenus Choeropithecus. The named Arabian baboon, P. hamadryas of North Africa and Arabia, dedicated by the ancient Egyptians to the god Thoth, and the South Arabian P. arabicus, typify Hamadryas; while the drill and mandrill of the west coast, P. leucophaeus and P. maimon, constitute the subgenus Maimon. The anubis baboons, as shown by the frescoes, were tamed by the ancient Egyptians and trained to pluck sycamore-figs from the trees. (See Primates; Chacma; Drill; Gelada and Mandrill).
- (R. L.*)