International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 827–852

Modeling monkeys: A comparison of computer-generated and naturally occurring foraging patterns in two species of neotropical primates

  • P. A. Garber
  • B. Hannon

DOI: 10.1007/BF02220255

Cite this article as:
Garber, P.A. & Hannon, B. International Journal of Primatology (1993) 14: 827. doi:10.1007/BF02220255


We present a series of computer-generated foraging models (random movement, olfactory navigation, and spatial memory) designed to examine the manner in which sensory cues and cognitive skills might be used by rainforest monkeys to locate patchily distributed feeding sites. These simulations are compared with data collected in the Amazon Basin of northeastern Peru on the foraging patterns of two species of neotropical primates, the moustached tamarin monkey (Saguinus mystax) and the saddle-back tamarin monkey (Saguinus fuscicollis). The results indicate that, although tamarins may rely on olfactory cues to locate nearby feeding sites, their foraging patterns are better explained by an ability to maintain a detailed spatial map of the location and distribution of hundreds of feeding trees in their home range. There is evidence that such informationis retained for a period of at least several weeks and is used to minimize the distance traveled between widely scattered feeding sites. The use of computer simulations provides a powerful research tool for generating predictive models regarding the role of memory and sensory cues in animal foraging patterns.

Key Words

foragingcomputer modelingtamarin monkeysSaguinusspatial memoryolfaction

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. A. Garber
    • 1
  • B. Hannon
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbana
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of IllinoisUrbana