Abstract # 77:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 17, 2006 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 8 (Regency West 1/3 ) Poster Presentation

Effects of individualized feeding on behavior in captive baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis)

A. Poyas1, T. Q. Bartlett1, N. E. Schlabritz-Loutsevitch2,3, C. Dudley3, C. H. Nevill2 and P. W. Nathanielsz3
1University of Texas at San Antonio, Department of Anthropology, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA, 2Southwest National Primate Research Center, 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio
     Resource competition has been proposed as one of the organizing principles in primate social structure, where individual differences in foraging success and fitness are explained by dominance. Here we present data on the activity budget of socially housed baboons in the absence of feeding competition. The study animals, 1 male and 16 females, were maintained as an intact social group, but separated for 2 hours each day into a novel system of individual feeding cages where each animal fed ad lib. We anticipated that the absence of feeding competition would result in reduced rates of activity and aggression, and increased rates of rest and sociality. Behavioral observations were based on 80 hours of continuous digital video, using two fixed cameras mounted inside the group enclosure. Activity data were subsequently collected using 15-minute instantaneous scan sampling. As predicted, the animals devoted the overwhelming majority of their time to rest (74%) and affiliation (20%). Locomotor behavior was low (3%). Aggressive and dominance interactions were negligible. While the rate of sociality is roughly double that of wild animals, feeding, minimally 40% under natural conditions, is absorbed mostly by the rest category. These findings are broadly consistent with prior research on captive and food enhanced populations, which show that contrary to expectations, ease of foraging does not lead to increased sociality, but instead to more time spent at rest.