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Resource depletion through primate stone technology

Luncz, LV; Tan, A; Haslam, M; Kulik, L; Proffitt, T; Malaivijitnond, S; Gumert, M; (2017) Resource depletion through primate stone technology. Elife , 6 , Article e23647. 10.7554/eLife.23647. Green open access

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Tool use has allowed humans to become one of the most successful species. However, tool-assisted foraging has also pushed many of our prey species to extinction or endangerment, a technology-driven process thought to be uniquely human. Here, we demonstrate that tool-assisted foraging on shellfish by long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, Thailand, reduces prey size and prey abundance, with more pronounced effects where the macaque population size is larger. We compared availability, sizes and maturation stages of shellfish between two adjacent islands inhabited by different-sized macaque populations and demonstrate potential effects on the prey reproductive biology. We provide evidence that once technological macaques reach a large enough group size, they enter a feedback loop - driving shellfish prey size down with attendant changes in the tool sizes used by the monkeys. If this pattern continues, prey populations could be reduced to a point where tool-assisted foraging is no longer beneficial to the macaques, which in return may lessen or extinguish the remarkable foraging technology employed by these primates.

Type: Article
Title: Resource depletion through primate stone technology
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.23647
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.23647
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © Luncz et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited
Keywords: Macaca fascicularis, Thailand, ecology, shellfish, stone tool use, Animals, Choice Behavior, Conservation of Natural Resources, Ecosystem, Feeding Behavior, Female, Macaca fascicularis, Male, Shellfish, Tool Use Behavior
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10060389
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