Patterns of Suspensory Feeding in Alouatta palliata, Ateles geoffroyi, and Cebus capucinus

  • David J. Bergeson


The positional behavior of a primate is not an end in itself, but is instead a means to many ends (Andrews and Groves, 1976; Charles-Dominique, 1990; Cant, 1992). One of the most important of these is food acquisition. Compared to other orders of mammals, primates consume a wide variety of food resources, most of which can be subsumed under the categories of fruit, leaves, seeds, exudates, and insect prey (Harding, 1981; Sussman, 1987). These food resources often present alternative demands to a primate consumer and probably greatly influence patterns of substrate preference and canopy use. Although data suggest that broad correlations do not exist between diet and positional behavior, it is likely that specific positional behaviors are particularly important for specific resources in the diets of many primate species (Fleagle and Mittermeier, 1980; Fleagle, 1984). The identification of such relationships is critical if we are to interpret the positional behaviors of extant primates, or the reconstructed positional behaviors of extinct primates. Only when we know the ecological context of locomotor modes and feeding postures can we begin to address questions concerning their adaptive significance (Fleagle, 1979).


Tree Crown Positional Behavior Small Branch Spider Monkey Focal Animal 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Bergeson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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