Geochemistry and clay mineralogy of soils eaten by Japanese macaques
- 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.