FACT CHECK: Is A Group Of Baboons Called A ‘Congress’?

Hannah Hudnall | Contributor

An image shared on Facebook claims a group of baboons is called a “congress.”

Verdict: False

A group of baboons is called a “troop,” not a “congress.”

Fact Check:

The viral image features a picture of several dozen baboons sitting in the snow. “Did you know that a large group of baboons is called a congress?” reads text included in the photo. “That explains a lot now, doesn’t it!”

Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com both list several different definitions of the word “congress,” none of which mention baboons. According to Merriam-Webster, the word “congress” can mean “the act or action of coming together and meeting” or “the supreme legislative body of a nation and especially of a republic.” Three other definitions are also listed. (RELATED: No, This Video Of Fast Turtles Is Not Real)

A gathering of baboons is actually called a “troop,” according to Baboon Matters Trust, a baboon advocacy and education organization based in Kommetjie, South Africa. The group describes the complexity of baboon troops on a section of its website titled, “Understanding Troop Hierarchy.” The website does not use the word “congress” at any point.

In an emailed statement to Check Your Fact, Dr. Linda Fedigan, a former professor of primatology and bioanthropology at the University of Calgary in Alberta and the author of “Primate Paradigms: Sex Roles and Social Bonds,” confirmed the term “congress” is not used to describe baboons. “I have never heard a group of baboons called a ‘congress’ (apart from some nonsense that is circulating on social media),” said Fedigan. “The collective noun for a group of baboons is a ‘troop.'”

Hannah Hudnall

Contributor

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