Saturday, 15 September 2012

Foraging Baboons Are Picky Punters: Baboon Foraging Choices Depend On Their Habitat and Social Status

ScienceDaily (Sep. 13, 2012) — Baboons choose which tree to find food in and who to take foraging, just like humans decide where to shop and who to go shopping with.

In a study published today in The American Naturalist, 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.

Read on:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120913203917.htm

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