Dental Microwear and Diet in a Wild Population of Mantled Howling Monkeys (Alouatta palliata)

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Abstract

The mantled howling monkey (Alouatta palliata) was the subject of the first naturalistic study of nonhuman primate behavior - Carpenter’s classic 1934 work in Panama. That study not only set the stage for future naturalistic behavioral-ecological work, it also set the tone for our perceptions of howling monkeys. For 40-50 years, howlers were essentially viewed as humid tropical forest leaf-eaters. It is only within the past 20-25 years that researchers have begun to appreciate the ecological variability and adaptability of howlers. Now, based on the work of Crockett, Glander, Milton, and others, researchers have gained a more realistic picture of howlers as folivorous frugivores which can inhabit a wide range of habitats including rain forests, swamp forests, and semideciduous forests (Crockett — Eisenberg, 1986). In fact, they are so adaptable that they are often the first neotropical primates to colonize new patches of secondary forest.