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)

Arctic sea ice depletion to result in rise of CO2 in atmosphere Sep 23, 11:00 am
Washington, Sept 23 (ANI): A new study has revealed that Arctic Sea ice helps remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and its depletion would result in an increase of atmospheric concentration of the gas.
Full Story
Snail shells reveal rise, fall of Tibetan Plateau Sep 23, 10:33 am
Washington, Sept 23 (ANI): A new study of snail shells has revealed that the high-rise Tibetan Plateau is much lower than it used to be.
Full Story
Simple computer test can help detect early signs of Alzheimer's Sep 22, 6:37 pm
Washington, Sept 22 (ANI): A new study has revealed that a simple test that combines thinking and movement can help to detect heightened risk for developing Alzheimer's disease in a person, even before there are any telltale behavioural signs of dementia.
Full Story
Researchers find new approach to fight against 'superbugs' Sep 22, 4:58 pm
Washington, Sep 22 (ANI): A new study has provided a deeper insight into the new approaches that the researchers are adopting in order to fight against superbugs.
Full Story
Comments

LATEST STORIES
TOP VIDEO STORIES
PHOTO GALLERY