The influence of natural diet composition, food intake level, and body size on ingesta passage in primates

Clinic for Zoo Animals, Exotic Pets and Wildlife, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zürich, Switzerland.
Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology (Impact Factor: 1.97). 08/2008; 150(3):274-81. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2008.03.012
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An important component of digestive physiology involves ingesta mean retention time (MRT), which describes the time available for digestion. At least three different variables have been proposed to influence MRT in herbivorous mammals: body mass, diet type, and food intake (dry matter intake, DMI). To investigate which of these parameters influences MRT in primates, we collated data for 19 species from trials where both MRT and DMI were measured in captivity, and acquired data on the composition of the natural diet from the literature. We ran comparative tests using both raw species values and phylogenetically independent contrasts. MRT was not significantly associated with body mass, but there was a significant correlation between MRT and relative DMI (rDMI, g/kg(0.75)/d). MRT was also significantly correlated with diet type indices. Thus, both rDMI and diet type were better predictors of MRT than body mass. The rDMI-MRT relationship suggests that primate digestive differentiation occurs along a continuum between an "efficiency" (low intake, long MRT, high fiber digestibility) and an "intake" (high intake, short MRT, low fiber digestibility) strategy. Whereas simple-stomached (hindgut fermenting) species can be found along the whole continuum, foregut fermenters appear limited to the "efficiency" approach.

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Available from: Sylvia Ortmann, Oct 02, 2015
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    • "Of course, it could be argued that primates may simply alter the feeding rate, thereby increasing the energy return per unit time and thus compensating for the shortfall. This seems highly unlikely on theoretical grounds (Clauss et al., 2008) and has not been observed (or reported) in the wild. It is therefore considered here that a sedge-based diet may indeed be constrained by the time available for foraging, feeding, and digestion. "
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    ABSTRACT: Australopithecus bahrelghazali, its origin and palaeobiology are not well understood. Reported from only one location some several thousand kilometres away from East African Pliocene hominin sites, it appears to have predominantly fed on C4 sources. Yet, it lacks the morphological adaptations of other primate C4 consumers like Paranthropus boisei and Theropithecus oswaldi. Furthermore, although considered to belong to Australopithecus afarensis by most researchers, A. bahrelghazali appears to differ from the former in a key aspect of its morphology: enamel thickness. To assess the phylogeny and palaeobiology of A. bahrelghazali, I first evaluate the dietary adaptations and energetics of A. bahrelghazali using empirical data of the feeding ecology of extant baboons, Papio cynocephalus. Information published on A. bahrelghazali morphology and habitat preference is used to select C4 foods with the appropriate mechanical properties and availability within the environment to create the models. By altering the feeding time on various food categories, I then test whether A. bahrelghazali could have subsisted on a C4 diet, thus accounting for the δ(13)C composition of its dental tissue. The effects of body mass on the volume of food consumed are taken into account. The outcomes of these simulations indicate that A. bahrelghazali could have subsisted on a diet of predominantly sedges, albeit with limitations. At higher energy requirements, i.e., above 3.5 times the BMR, it would be difficult for a medium-sized primate to obtain sufficient energy from a sedge-based diet. This is apparently due to constraints on foraging/feeding time, not because of the nutritional value of sedges per se. These results are discussed against the backdrop of A. bahrelghazali biogeography, palaeoenvironment, and phylogeny. The combined evidence makes it plausible to suggest that Northern Chad may have been a refugium for migrating mammals, including hominins, and throws new light on the deep history of A. bahrelghazali. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Human Evolution 07/2015; in press. DOI:10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.06.009 · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    • "Unlike Hickey et al. (1999)'s prediction, the passage time of seeds were stable regardless of the amount of diet. Our result was different to those obtained for foregut herbivores (hippopotami and cattle) (Clauss et al. 2007), beavers (Fryxell et al. 1994) and primates (Clauss et al. 2007, 2008; Sawada et al. 2011), in which the passage time was shorter when the animals were fed larger amounts of fibrous foods, and similar to those of elephants and horses (Clauss et al. 2007), in which the passage time moderately increased when the animals consumed a larger amount of food. There are two possibilities that could explain why the passage time of our martens was stable. "
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the effects of food intake on the gastrointestinal passage time of seeds in the Japanese marten (Martes melampus), we conducted four feeding experiments using captive animals (n = 4). We estimated passage time variables (transit time and mean retention time) of plant seeds (two types) using two different numbers of chicks (single and three) representing two seasons when the animal prey is abundant/scarce. There was no significant relationship between food intake and passage time, and seed type did not affect the passage time variables. Our results were different to those for herbaceous/omnivorous mammals, in which a shorter passage time was observed when food intake increased. The stability in the passage time of the martens could be attributed to the higher level of digestibility of the animal prey. Our data also suggests that martens possess an elastic gut that can expand in volume, which leads to a consistent passage time despite the increase in food intake and enables them to efficiently assimilate nutrients from the consumed food. The results of the present study suggest that the dispersal distance of seeds and defecation site density of martens is influenced by their ranging/activity pattern and not by their digestive physiology.
    Mammal Study 04/2015; 40(1):13-18. DOI:10.3106/041.040.0103 · 0.53 Impact Factor
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    • "Among these is the one between MRT and digestibility, evident in vivo both intra-and interspecifically (Udén et al., 1982; Pearson et al., 2001; Munn and Dawson, 2006; Kim et al., 2007; Clauss et al., 2008, 2009, 2014b; Müller et al., 2013) and also in in vitro studies (Hummel et al., 2006), but notably also not always significant in other studies when phylogenetic relationships of the species investigated were taken into account (significant in PGLS in Clauss et al. (2009), but not in the larger and less homogenous dataset of Müller et al. (2013)). These discrepancies are at least partially due to the different proxies used for 'digestibility'. "
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    ABSTRACT: In herbivore ecophysiology, comparative chewing efficiency has only recently received increased attention. This measure is best assessed on un-processed forage-only diets; corresponding comparative datasets are missing. We measured a faecal mean particle size (MPS [mm]) in 14 large herbivore species (body mass (M) range 60-4000kg; 8 ruminants and 6 hindgut fermenters) fed a consistent grass hay diet, in which intake, digesta mean retention times (MRT [h]) and digestive efficiency (as digestibility of faecal fibre measured by 96h cumulative in vitro gas production GP96h [ml per 200mg faecal fibre], and metabolic faecal nitrogen MFN [% organic faecal matter]) had been quantified simultaneously. MPS was generally lower in ruminants than in hindgut fermenters and increased with M in the total dataset, but was nearly constant among closely related taxa (e.g. within ruminants, within equids) irrespective of M. MPS (but not MRT) was significantly correlated to GP96h, whereas MRT (but not MPS) was significantly correlated to MFN, suggesting different effects of these factors on different aspects of digestibility. Combinations of measures including MPS mostly explained digestibility better than other combinations. The phylogenetic signal λ, which was mostly 1 when linking any single measure to digestibility, was estimated 0 in models that linked digestive efficiency to combinations of measures. These results support the intuitive concept that species diversification in large herbivores is tightly related to digestive physiology, and that chewing efficiency as measured by faecal particle size is an integral aspect of this scenario. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A Molecular & Integrative Physiology 10/2014; 179C:182-191. DOI:10.1016/j.cbpa.2014.10.006 · 1.97 Impact Factor
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