, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 1-20

A Jarman/Bell model of primate feeding niches

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Some of the behavioral-ecological variation in the primate order can be explained by reference to a general model known as the Jarman/Bell principle. This principle involves a scaling relationship between metabolism and body size which suggests that body size is a fundamental tactic in an animal's feeding strategy. Relatively accurate predictions regarding the diets of primates of known body weight follow from this model. In addition, it can be expanded to predict the kinds of adaptations that would appear in animals that deviate from the expected size/diet pattern. The model is general enough such that, when joined with feeding strategy theory, it can be applied to extinct organisms. In this context it is suggested that Pleistocene hominid ecology was characterized more by omnivory than carnivory.