The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

Withdrawn. You are what you eat: Further analysis of the diet and feeding ecology of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) in Gibraltar


1Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, 2Department of Anthropoogy, University of Notre Dame, 3Mammal Studies, Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society, 4National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, 5Gibraltar Veterinary Clinic, Gibraltar

March 28, 2015 , Gateway Ballroom 2/3/4/5 Add to calendar

Diet is often considered one of the driving forces of primate behavior, mating systems, and social structure. Although primate diet and feeding ecology has been studied extensively in forest populations, less is known about the complex diet and feeding patterns of human-sympatric primate groups, particularly those that live in and around urban areas. Increased access to human food resources as a result of urbanization has been demonstrated to influence wildlife group sizes, social structure, behavior, breeding, diet and ecology. Isotopic analysis of hair and fecal not only provide information about diet, but can also serve as a proxy measure for intensity of human interaction.

We examined the diet and feeding ecology of Barbary macaques (M. sylvanus) using stable isotopes analysis of hair and fecal samples collected from within at least six distinct social groups within the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Gibraltar, and compared the behavioral patterns and activity budgets of two focal groups. The four groups with the greatest contact with and access to human settlements had diets slightly, but significantly, enriched in 13C and 15N as compared to a group that was largely isolated from tourists. These isotopic differences suggest macaques interacting with tourists consume more commercially-produced agricultural products, and C4 foods, likely from human-provided foods. We also examined over 130 hours of focal behavioral sampling in order to examine the relationship between feeding patterns and activity budgets, with preliminary data analysis revealing a correlation between access to human food sources and increased social interaction and resting behavior.

Funding was provided by the University of Notre Dame College of Arts & Letters Office of the Dean.