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Modern macaque dietary heterogeneity assessed using stable isotope analysis of hair and bone.

O'Regan, HJ; Chenery, C; Lamb, AL; Stevens, RE; Rook, L; Elton, S; (2008) Modern macaque dietary heterogeneity assessed using stable isotope analysis of hair and bone. J Hum Evol , 55 (4) pp. 617-626. 10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.05.001.

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Dietary variability might have been a major factor in the dispersal and subsequent persistence of the genus Macaca in both tropical and temperate areas. Macaques are found from northern Africa to Japan, yet there have been few systematic attempts to compare diets between different modern populations. Here we have taken a direct approach and sampled museum-curated tissues (hair and bone) of Macaca mulatta (rhesus macaques) for carbon and nitrogen stable isotope dietary analyses. Samples from India, Vietnam, and Burma (Myanmar) were taken, representing both tropical and temperate populations. The delta(13)C values obtained from hair show that the temperate macaques, particularly those from Uttar Pradesh, have a delta(13)C signature that indicates at least some use of C(4) resources, while the tropical individuals have a C(3)-based diet. However, delta(13)C values from bone bioapatite indicate a C(3)-based diet for all specimens and they do not show the C(4) usage seen in the hair of some animals, possibly because bone represents a much longer turnover period than that of hair. The results of delta(15)N analyses grouped animals by geographic region of origin, which may be related to local soil nitrogen values. The greatest variation in delta(15)N values was seen in the specimens from Burma, which may be partly due to seasonality, as specimens were collected at different times of year. We also investigated the relationship between the hair, bone collagen, and bone bioapatite delta(13)C results, and found that they are highly correlated, and that one tissue can be used to extrapolate results for another. However, our results also suggest that hair may pick up discrete feeding traces (such as seasonal usage), which are lost when only bone collagen and bioapatite are examined. This has important implications for dietary reconstructions of archaeological and paleontological populations.

Type: Article
Title: Modern macaque dietary heterogeneity assessed using stable isotope analysis of hair and bone.
Location: England
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.05.001
Keywords: Animals, Bone and Bones, Carbon Isotopes, Collagen, Diet, Female, Geography, Hair, Macaca, Male, Nitrogen Isotopes, Regression Analysis
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology
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URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1463251
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