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Prey preferences of the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)
  • Cassandra Bugir,
  • Thomas Butynski,
  • Matthew Hayward
Cassandra Bugir
The University of Newcastle
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Thomas Butynski
Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme
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Matthew Hayward
The University of Newcastle
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Abstract

Chimpanzees Pan troglodytes are the closest extant relative of modern humans, and are often used as a model organism to help understand prehistoric human behavior and ecology. Originally presumed herbivorous, chimpanzees have been observed hunting 24 species of birds, ungulates, rodents, monkeys, and other primates, using an array of techniques from tools to group cooperation. Using the literature on chimpanzee hunting behavior and diet from 13 studies, we aimed to determine the prey preferences of chimpanzees. We extracted data on prey-specific variables such as targeted species, their body weight, and their abundance within the prey community, and hunter-specific variables such as hunting method, and chimpanzee group size and sex ratio. We used these in a generalized linear model to determine what factors drive chimpanzee prey preference. We calculated a Jacobs’ Index value for each prey species killed at two sites in Uganda and two sites in Tanzania. Chimpanzees prefer prey with a body weight of 7.6 ± 0.4 kg or less, which corresponds to animals such as juvenile bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus and guereza colobus monkeys Colobus guereza. Sex ratio in chimpanzee groups appears to drive chimpanzee prey preference, where chimpanzees increasingly prefer prey when in male-dominated groups. Prey preference information from chimpanzee research can assist conservation management programs by identifying key prey species to manage, as well as contribute to a better understanding of the evolution of human hunting behavior.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

09 Feb 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
12 Feb 2021Submission Checks Completed
12 Feb 2021Assigned to Editor
18 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
02 Mar 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
24 Mar 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
14 Apr 20211st Revision Received
14 Apr 2021Submission Checks Completed
14 Apr 2021Assigned to Editor
14 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
15 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Accept