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

Locomotion of Angolan black and white colobus monkeys (Colobus angolensis palliatus) in coastal Kenya’s Diani Forest


Anthropology, The Ohio State University

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Anthropologists interested in understanding constraints on positional behavior focus increasingly on the relationships between locomotion, posture, and details of forest architecture. Recent studies have shown that in several taxa, locomotion and posture are conserved intra-specifically in groups inhabiting structurally distinct habitats; however, several critics note that the habitats under study may not be structurally different enough to warrant significant behavioral adjustments. We address this issue with new locomotor data on a species inhabiting a highly perturbed environment. These data are compared with those of closely related taxa inhabiting a gradient of habitat types to test the null hypothesis of no difference between species and across habitats.

Positional behavior data were collected from June to August 2012 on Peters’ Angolan black and white colobus (Colobus angolensis palliatus) inhabiting coastal Kenya’s heavily degraded and increasingly urbanized Diani Forest. Instantaneous time point sampling was used to generate an overall locomotor profile from three habituated groups. This profile was compared to those of three other colobines from East and West Africa: Colobus guereza, C. polykomos, and C. vellerosus. The Angolan colobus at Diani spent approximately 8.9% of their time moving with an overall locomotor profile of 71.2% quadrupedalism, 13.2% climbing, and 14.5% leaping. Comparisons of overall locomotor profiles using G-tests revealed significant interspecific differences with two of the three colobine species; however, methodological approaches are not uniform. These results underscore the need for standardized protocols in positional sampling.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. 2012136655. Also funded in part by The Ohio State University College of Graduate Students’ Global Gateway Research Abroad Grant.

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