Abstract # 13198 Poster # 104:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 9, 2018 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Chula Vista ) Poster Presentation


FECAL TEMPERATURE OF BORNEAN ORANGUTANS (PONGO PYGMAEUS WURMBII) IN WEST KALIMANTAN, INDONESIA AS A PROXY FOR BODY TEMPERATURE

F. S. Harwell1,2,3, R. Gotama3,4, K. S. Scott3,5, B. Philp3 and C. D. Knott1,3
1Boston University, 232 Bay State Road, Anthropology Department, Boston, MA 02215, USA, 2Boston University, 3Gunung Palung Orangutan Project, 4Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 5Oxford Brookes University
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     Primate health status affects individual fitness and survival, yet is difficult to noninvasively investigate in the wild. Using a method previously tested on chimpanzees and humans, we estimated temperature of fecal samples of Bornean orangutans as a proxy for body temperature. Upon defecation, we recorded internal temperature of the sample at 20-sec intervals for six minutes. Data included a series of temperatures for each sample that we fitted to a sigmoid curve, which was used to estimate body temperature. Estimated body temperature was not affected by height of defecation (r= -0.24, N= 52, P= 0.08) or fecal weight (r= 0.11, N= 48, P= 0.47). Our methods allowed for fast, consistent sampling, such that time from defecation to collection did not affect the results (r= 0.03, N=48, P= 0.86), confirming that reliable fecal temperatures can be collected from orangutans. From our field samples (N=59), orangutans appear to have a lower body temperature (33.35 ± 1.73 °C) on average than chimpanzees or humans. These findings are discussed in light of other studies showing that orangutans have a lower metabolic rate compared to other apes. Lower body temperature may serve as a metabolic adaptation to survive extended periods of low food availability when energy needs to be conserved. Funded by NSF grant BCS-163882, Leakey Foundation, Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, US Fish and Wildlife Great Ape Conservation Fund #F15AP00812.