Baboons are picky punters when it comes to foraging for food

   Sep 14, 2:56 pm

Washington, September 14 (ANI): A group of scientists led by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) have used a technique developed to study human consumer choices to investigate what influences a baboon's foraging decisions.

The technique, known as discrete choice modelling, has rarely been used before in animal behaviour research.

It showed how baboons not only consider many social and non-social factors when making foraging decisions, but also how they change these factors depending on their habitat and their own social traits.

Over a six-month period in Tsaobis Leopard Park in Namibia, ZSL scientists followed troops of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) on foot from dawn to dusk.

They recognised individual baboons by distinguishing features, and closely observed both the aggressive and friendly social relationships between baboons, noting which food patch they foraged in and who they foraged with.

As expected, baboons were more likely to use patches containing more food. More interestingly, they also paid attention to their social relationships with other baboons in the patches.

"More dominant baboons preferred using patches containing animals who they were dominant to, and so more likely to be able to steal food from. However, these less dominant baboons seemed to compensate for this by preferring patches containing animals with whom they had good social bonds and so were more likely to tolerate them," said Harry Marshall, from ZSL and Imperial College London, who conducted the research.

ZSL's Dr Guy Cowlishaw added: "These findings show how animals' decision-making can be dependent on where they are and who they are. This suggests that some animals can change their behaviour to adjust to a changing environment."

Scientists at ZSL will continue working with collaborators and use the findings from this study to help them investigate how baboons' foraging behaviour is affected by changes in the environment, and the impact this will have on socially foraging species in the future.

The study has been published in The American Naturalist. (ANI)

Viaducts with wind turbines claimed as new source of energy generation Jul 6, 1:55 pm
Washington DC, July 6 (ANI): Trying out new ways to generate electricity, scientists now claim that wind turbines could be installed under some of the biggest bridges on the road network to produce electricity.
Full Story
Bees' DNA 'soup' may shed light into species' decline Jul 6, 1:16 pm
Washington DC (ANI): Scientists have found that directly looking into the extracted "soup" of bees' DNA could help conservationists understand and even reverse their decline.
Full Story
Sweating too much? Try these tricks to get it under control Jul 4, 1:04 pm
London, Jul 4 (ANI): Here are some top tips to avoid embarrassing sweat-patches this summer.
Full Story
Is it possible to 'sniff out' autism? Jul 4, 11:59 am
London, Jul 4 (ANI): A team of researchers has suggested that the way children sniff different aromas can form the basis of a test for autism.
Full Story
Comments

LATEST STORIES
TOP VIDEO STORIES
PHOTO GALLERY