The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Stable isotope data for monkeys of the Ivory Coast's Taï Forest


1Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, 2Department of Anthropology, The Ohio State University

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The seven cercopithecid species of the Ivory Coast’s Taï Forest provide opportunities to explore ecological diversity among sympatric monkeys. Taxon-specific ranging, feeding and morphological data are available for all species; however, stable isotope ratio analysis has not yet been attempted for this primate community. Here, we present data from modern rib bone for seven monkey species: Colobus polykomos (N=7), Cercocebus atys (N=6), Procolobus verus (N=4), Procolobus badius (N=7), Cercopithecus diana (N=6), Cercopithecus campbelli (N=3), and Cercopithecus petaurista (N=1). Stable isotopes of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) from bone collagen and stable isotopes of carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) from bone apatite are analyzed.

All samples produced excellent bone collagen and apatite yields and isotopic results are consistent with the closed canopy habits of this community. The data, however, indicate some discrimination among taxa. For example, Kruskal-Wallis tests demonstrate significant variation for δ15N and δ18O values among species, inferred to correlate with diet and microhabitat, respectively (e.g., ground foraging in Cercocebus and arboreal feeding in Procolobus). Posthoc pairwise tests reflect the observed, non-overlapping δ18O values as a predictor of ground vs. arboreal feeding regimes. ANOVA tests exploring differences by sex and age (adult vs. non-adult) for pooled taxa demonstrate δ13C values for bone apatite are significant by sex and Δ13C spacing values (apatite-collagen) are significant by age, suggesting differences in dietary quality and/or dietary fractionation of preferred foods. Isotopic data from these modern primates underscore the potential to model and perhaps test dietary variability of sympatric primates in the past.

Supported by National Science Foundation grants: BCS-0922429 and 0921770

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