Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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One-male Unit

Social group consisting of one male, several females, and their nonpubescent offspring; OMUs are found habitually among some primates such as hamadryas baboons, for whom there may be a genetic component to this behavior, but OMUs may be the result of environmental conditions in other primate species such as howlers. The older term harem in the ethological literature also referred to this type of social organization; however, OMU is now preferred, especially in reference to primates, owing to anthropomorphic connotations associated with the older term. Aka one-male group.

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