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


Nutritional composition of foods eaten by chacma baboons in the Tokai Forest of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa

CALEY A. JOHNSON1,2, DAVID CLARKE3, BRAD REBEIRO4, JESSICA M. ROTHMAN1,2,5 and LARISSA SWEDELL1,2,6.

1Department of Anthropology, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 2New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, (NYCEP), 3Department of Biology, Queens College of the City University of New York, 4Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Queens College of the City University of New York, 5Department of Anthropology, Hunter College of the City University of New York, 6Department of Anthropology, Queens College of the City University of New York

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Knowledge of nutritional aspects of primate diets is important because adequate nutrition is critical for successful reproduction. This is especially relevant in changing environments, where dietary requirements contribute to wildlife management decisions. We present data on the nutritional content of foods eaten by chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) in the Tokai Forest from all day follows (n=30) between July 2010-August 2010. Our goal was to quantify the amount of fiber, protein, fat, and non-structural carbohydrates in foods eaten by Tokai baboons. We recorded foods eaten and collected representative samples for nutritional analysis. We analyzed the nutrient content of 69 samples representing 29 plant species. Overall, foods contained 9-70% neutral detergent fiber (NDF), 8-50% acid detergent fiber (ADF), 1-28% acid detergent lignin (ADL), 2-28% crude protein (CP), 1≤12% fat, and 1-62% total nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC). On average, roots eaten were lower in hemicellulose and CP than other plant parts, and contained the most TNC. Mushrooms contained the least cellulose, lignin and TNC, but highest CP content. Fruits contained the most fat and lignin. This is the first detailed study of the dietary composition and nutritional content of foods eaten by chacma baboons in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. This new information allows for comparative nutritional study of baboons across habitat types, provides insight into chacma baboon feeding ecology, and allows for better informed management decisions

This study was funded by NSF DGE 0333415 (NYCEP IGERT)

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