The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


Primate Energy Expenditure and Life History

HERMAN PONTZER1,2, DAVID A. RAICHLEN3, ADAM D. GORDON4, KARA K. SCHROEPFER5, BRIAN HARE5, HOLLY M. DUNSWORTH6, BRIAN M. WOOD7, MITCHELL T. IRWIN8, ROBERT W. SHUMAKER10,9, ELIZABETH V. LONSDORF11 and STEPHEN R. ROSS12.

1Dept. of Anthropology, Hunter College - CUNY, 2, New York Consortium for Evolutionary Primatology, 3School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, 4Dept. of Anthropology, University at Albany - SUNY, 5Dept. of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, 6Dept. of Anthropology, University of Rhode Island, 7Dept. of Anthropology, Yale University, 8Dept. of Anthropology, Northern Illinois University, 9Life Sciences, Indianapolis Zoo, 10Dept. of Anthropology, Indiana University - Bloomington, 11Dept. of Psychology, Franklin and Marshall College, 12Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Lincoln Park Zoo

Friday 2:30-2:45, Ballroom B Add to calendar

Primates have slower rates of growth, reproduction, and senescence than other placental mammals. Classic life history theory proposes that primates’ slow life history is a function of energy allocation, with resources shifted away from growth and reproduction, and toward somatic maintenance. Such energy-allocation models of life history variation assume that total energy expenditure, TEE (i.e., the energy budget, calories/day), is a fixed function of body mass, a view that is consistent with studies of basal metabolic rate showing broad similarity among placental mammals. However, basal metabolic rate is not strongly correlated with TEE, and might not accurately reflect energy budget size. Here, we examine new and published doubly-labeled water measurements of TEE (calories/day) among 15 primate species, including 7 wild and 9 captive populations, and test the hypothesis that primate life histories reflect variation in TEE rather than energy allocation. We show that TEE among primates are significantly lower than those of other placental mammals, in contrast to previous studies of basal metabolic rate. Further, primates’ low TEE appears to explain their slow life history: rates of growth, reproduction, and senescence are similar among primates and other mammals when examined as a function of TEE rather than body mass. Notably, ANCOVA controlling for body mass revealed no difference in TEE between wild and captive primate populations, suggesting that TEE is a stable, evolved physiological trait rather than a labile response to activity level. We discuss the implications of these data for primate ecology, life history, and evolution.

This work was supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and National Science Foundation.

Tweet
comments powered by Disqus