The 85th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2016)

Energy expenditure and physical activity levels in captive tufted capuchins (Cebus apella)


1Department of Anthropolgy, Hunter College, 2Department of Anthropology, New York Consortium of Evolutionary Primatology, 3Department of Psychology, Franklin and Marshall

April 16, 2016 , Atrium Ballroom A/B Add to calendar

Previous research has shown a marked difference between the energy expenditure levels of primates as a group and other placental mammals, but little is known regarding interspecific variation within the primate order. In this study we investigated total energy expenditure, TEE (kcal/d) in captive tufted capuchins (Cebus apella, n=11, ages 8-36), a frugivorous and large-brained New World monkey, in order to compare their metabolic rates with other placental mammals and primates. For each subject, we used the doubly labeled water method to measure TEE over a 14-day period, during which we also recorded 20 hours of physical activity data via focal observation. These data were then compared to previously published TEE data collected from other primates and placental mammals. Capuchin TEE was similar (p=0.67) to other, less encephalized New World primates (Callithrix and Alouatta) in multiple regression controlling for body mass. Like other primates, capuchin TEE was 43% below that expected for a placental mammal of similar body mass. We discuss the effects of physical activity on daily energy requirements and the implications of these data for capuchin foraging, life history, and evolution.

Funding provided by Hunter College.