Human Evolution

, Volume 4, Issue 2–3, pp 199–206 | Cite as

Galagos and Gummivory

  • L. T. Nash


An experimental program investigating the role of gum in the diet of captiveGalago senegalensis braccatus is reviewed. One set of studies investigated the role of gum chemistry in dietary preferences. The animals showed a preference forAcacia gums over gums from other plants. If condensed or hydrolized tannins were added to theAcacia gums, such gums were consumed at a lower rate than plainAcacia gum. This effect was stronger with the condensed (quebracho) tannin. The effect of such secondary compounds on gum consumption in wild galagos needs investigation. The second set of studies examined digestion of gums, which are complex polysaccarides probably requiring fermentation in the gut. Substitution of gum for simple carbohydrate sources in the diet lead to increased gut transit time. On the gum diet, animals maintained weight without an increase in intake or a decrease in activity levels. Apparent dry matter digestibility of the two diets was equivalent. Indicators of gut bacterial action increased on the gum diet. These observations are strong indirect evidence for an increase of fermentation in the gut on the gum diet.

Key words

Exudates Feeding Diet Digestion Secondary compounds 


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Copyright information

© Editrice II Sedicesimo 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. T. Nash
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyArizona State UniversityTempeU.S.A.

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