Abstract # 39:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 17, 2010 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 11 (Medallion Ballroom C/D/E/F) Poster Presentation


AN EXAMINATION OF PROTEIN-FIBER RATIOS IN TANA RIVER PRIMATE NATIONAL RESERVE, KENYA, YELLOW BABOON (PAPIO CYNOCEPHALUS) FOODS: IS THERE A BABOON NORM?

V. K. Bentley-Condit1 and M. Power2
1Grinnell College, Department of Anthropology, Grinnell, IA 50112, USA, 2Nutrition Laboratory, Conservation Ecology Center, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20008
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Through our ongoing investigation of yellow baboon nutrition, we predicted protein-fiber ratios (PFRs) of savannah foods should, on average, be higher than those of riverine forest foods as various grasses often contain high protein. Food consumption and nutrient content data for the Mchelelo troop [N=75] are based upon January 1988-October 1992 observational data (875 days; 4893 hourly scans) and chemical assays of 110 samples (forest=64; savannah=46) representing 56 flora species (31 families). Crude protein was calculated from carbon-hydrogen-nitrogen analyses at N x 6.25; acid detergent fiber was determined via van Soest procedures. As predicted, PFR was significantly higher for savannah foods (dry matter content) [savannah=0.57; forest=0.28; t(108)=3.63, P=0.001]. The difference lies in the mean protein rather than the mean fiber content [PROTEIN: forest=8.4%; savannah=11.86%; t(114)=4.103, P=0.001] [FIBER: forest=34.65%; savannah=32.45%; t(108)=-0.78, P=0.437]. These differences remain when just the top eleven food choices are examined despite only one of these top foods being a grass [PROTEIN: forest=6.92%; savannah=15.17%; t(21)=4.64, P=0.001] [FIBER: forest=33.58%; savannah=36.56%; t(21)=0.40, P=0.691]. Across all samples, Tana baboon foods average approximately 33% fiber and 10% protein. These proportions place the Tana baboons’ foods somewhat higher in fiber and near the lower end of protein content compared to reports for other populations. While PFR may not be the primary determinant, our data are consistent with other research indicating protein and fiber are important factors in baboon food choices.