, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 85–91

Geochemistry and clay mineralogy of soils eaten by Japanese macaques

  • William C. Mahaney
  • R. G. V. Hancock
  • M. Inoue
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/BF02381284

Cite this article as:
Mahaney, W.C., Hancock, R.G.V. & Inoue, M. Primates (1993) 34: 85. doi:10.1007/BF02381284


Three groups of soils from two Japanese monkey parks at Arashiyama (Honshu) and Takasakiyama (Kyushu) were analyzed for their geochemistry and clay and primary mineral content. Two groups (Y and T) of soils are regularly eaten by Japanese macaques; a third group (N) is not eaten. Of the elements analyzed, soil group N (not eaten) is within the range of all elements in the Y group, and is very different from the T group. These preliminary data suggest there is no chemical stimulus in soil eating behaviour. We also analyzed the mineralogy of the clay fraction (<2 µm) but could find only a possible stimulus from ingesting plagioclase and orthoclase minerals. The clay mineral content consists of small to trace amounts of metahalloysite that might play a role in countering the effects of diarrhea. However, from the available data there are no clear trends that would provide a stimulus for geophagic behaviour.

Key Words

GeophagySoil geochemistry and mineralogy

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Mahaney
    • 1
  • R. G. V. Hancock
    • 2
  • M. Inoue
    • 3
  1. 1.Geomorphology and Pedology LaboratoryYork University, Atkinson CollegeNorth YorkCanada
  2. 2.SLOWPOKE Reactor Facility and Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied ChemistryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Primate Research InstituteKyoto UniversityAichiJapan