Human Evolution

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 125–132

Primate species separation in relation to secondary plant chemicals

  • J. U. Ganzhorn

DOI: 10.1007/BF02435441

Cite this article as:
Ganzhorn, J.U. Hum. Evol. (1989) 4: 125. doi:10.1007/BF02435441


Food selection of different primate species is reviewed in relation to secondary plant chemicals such as alkaloids and tannins. Different species discriminate differently against these chemicals.

The tolerance of potentially toxic substances (e.g. alkaloids) is not restricted to species with enlarged foreguts but is also found among lemurs with rather unspecialized digestive systems.

On the community level different reactions towards food chemicals seem to be an important mechanism contributing to species separation and thus allowing coexistence.

Key words

Food selectionalkaloidstanninscompetition avoidancesympatrycommunity ecology

Copyright information

© Editrice II Sedicesimo 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. U. Ganzhorn
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Abt. VerhaltensphysiologieTübingenFRG
  2. 2.Duke University Primate CenterDurhamUSA