Male baboons who befriend female conspecifics have a higher chance of survival than baboons who don't.

Biologists write this in the journal

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

In different animal species, from monkeys to horses, social contacts are known to influence the survival of these animals.

Now it appears that this is also the case with baboons.

For a long time, researchers thought that this only brings male baboons reproductive benefits: They find a mate and someone to care for their offspring.

Yet it also appears to have a platonic advantage: baboons seem to live longer when they have female friends.

Males with strong friendships with females were 28 percent more likely to live a year older again, compared to males who lived alone.

Exactly how this can be done is still unknown.

Researchers analyzed 35 years of data from 540 baboons in Kenya's Amboseli National Park.

Since the 1970s, scientists have been conducting research on baboons in the south of the African country almost every day.

Individual primates are kept track of who they are friends with and how they get through their lives.

The friendships were visible because males and females shared a lot and not only when a female was fertile.