Posture and support use of old world monkeys (Cercopithecidae): The influence of foraging strategies, activity patterns, and the spatial distribution of preferred food items



A common objective in field studies of positional behavior is to establish functional links between locomotion, body size, habitat use, foraging strategies, and maintenance activities. In contrast, there has been relatively little effort to examine posture in a similar, comparative context. Although various studies have shown that particular postures are employed in specific contexts, the theory which could provide the basis for understanding posture on a more general level has not been explicitly stated. This is particularly true for primates lacking specializations such as prehensile tails, claws for clinging, or adaptations for forelimb suspension. Consequently, there are few a priori reasons for predicting postural differences among generalized arboreal quadrupeds. Six sympatric cercopithecid monkeys were studied for 14 months in the Ivory Coast's Tai Forest to determine if more general relationships do exist between posture and other aspects of behavior. The results demonstrate that the postural diversity with these primates can, to varying degrees, be understood within the context of differences in the spatial distribution of preferred food items, activity patterns, support use, and foraging strategies. Am. J. Primatol. 46:229–250, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.