The viscoelastic behavior of the cartilaginous end-plate of the baboon (Papio anubis) was studied in an experiment on compressive creep. Data were analyzed with the biphasic poroviscoelastic constitutive theory to assess the relative contributions of flow-dependent and flow-independent viscoelastic mechanisms to the observed creep behavior. Material coefficients describing the equilibrium compressive behavior (HA) and both flow-independent (c, tau 1, and tau 2) and flow-dependent (k) viscoelastic effects were determined for the end-plate by the curve-fitting of the theoretical solution to the experimental creep data. Biochemical analyses were performed to test for potential relationships between material properties and composition which may give rise to the viscoelastic behavior of the end-plate. The results indicate that the cartilaginous end-plate has a hydraulic permeability of 14.3 x 10(-14) m4/N-s, which is associated with rapid transport and pressurization of the interstitial fluid in response to loading and an increased emphasis on flow-independent viscoelastic effects. Biochemical analyses for water, sulfated glycosaminoglycan content, and hydroxyproline indicate that the end-plate of the baboon is compositionally similar to the cartilaginous end-plate in humans. Interpretation of the mechanical and compositional data suggests that fluid pressurization in the cartilaginous end-plate may be important in the maintenance of a uniform stress distribution across the boundary between vertebral body and intervertebral disc.