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Starch consumption is a prominent characteristic of agricultural societies and hunter-gatherers in arid environments. In contrast, rainforest and circum-arctic hunter-gatherers and some pastoralists consume much less starch. This behavioral variation raises the possibility that different selective pressures have acted on amylase, the enzyme responsible for(More)
Leaf mechanical properties strongly influence leaf lifespan, plant-herbivore interactions, litter decomposition and nutrient cycling, but global patterns in their interspecific variation and underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. We synthesize data across the three major measurement methods, permitting the first global analyses of leaf mechanics(More)
Survival and reproductive success hinge on the perception of environmental stimuli. In this regard, foraging efficiency depends on discerning predictive signals in food. A widespread occurrence of ethanol in fruits indicates a sustained historical exposure of frugivores to this compound. Accordingly, Dudley (2000, Quart. Rev. Biol. 75:3-15) proposed that(More)
An outline is given for a field kit aiming to substantially increase the in situ knowledge gleaned from feeding studies of primates. Measurements are made of colouration (spectrum of non-specular reflection) and many mechanical, chemical and spatial properties of primate foods.
Evolution of the red-green visual subsystem in trichromatic primates has been linked to foraging advantages, namely the detection of either ripe fruits or young leaves amid mature foliage. We tested competing hypotheses globally for eight primate taxa: five with routine trichromatic vision, three without. Routinely trichromatic species ingested leaves that(More)
The divergent molar characteristics of Pan troglodytes and Pongo pygmaeus provide an instructive paradigm for examining the adaptive form-function relationship between molar enamel thickness and food hardness. Although both species exhibit a categorical preference for ripe fruit over other food objects, the thick enamel and crenulated occlusal surface of(More)
Periodic episodes of food scarcity may highlight the adaptive value of certain anatomical traits, particularly those that facilitate the acquisition and digestion of exigent fallback foods. To better understand the selective pressures that favored the distinctive dental and locomotor morphologies of gibbons and orangutans, we examined the foraging and(More)
The structure and function of primate communication have attracted much attention, and vocal signals, in particular, have been studied in detail. As a general rule, larger social groups emit more types of vocal signals, including those conveying the presence of specific types of predators. The adaptive advantages of receiving and responding to alarm calls(More)
The diets of Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus are hypothesized to have included C4 plants, such as tropical grasses and sedges, or the tissues of animals which themselves consumed C4 plants. Yet inferences based on the craniodental morphology of A. africanus and P. robustus indicate a seasonal diet governed by hard, brittle foods. Such(More)