Recurrent patterning in the daily foraging routes of hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas): Spatial memory in large-scale versus small-scale space



The benefits of spatial memory for foraging animals can be assessed on two distinct spatial scales: small-scale space (travel within patches) and large-scale space (travel between patches). While the patches themselves may be distributed at low density, within patches resources are likely densely distributed. We propose, therefore, that spatial memory for recalling the particular locations of previously visited feeding sites will be more advantageous during between-patch movement, where it may reduce the distances traveled by animals that possess this ability compared to those that must rely on random search. We address this hypothesis by employing descriptive statistics and spectral analyses to characterize the daily foraging routes of a band of wild hamadryas baboons in Filoha, Ethiopia. The baboons slept on two main cliffs—the Filoha cliff and the Wasaro cliff—and daily travel began and ended on a cliff; thus four daily travel routes exist: Filoha–Filoha, Filoha–Wasaro, Wasaro–Wasaro, Wasaro–Filoha. We use newly developed partial sum methods and distribution-fitting analyses to distinguish periods of area-restricted search from more extensive movements. The results indicate a single peak in travel activity in the Filoha–Filoha and Wasaro–Filoha routes, three peaks of travel activity in the Filoha–Wasaro routes, and two peaks in the Wasaro–Wasaro routes; and are consistent with on-the-ground observations of foraging and ranging behavior of the baboons. In each of the four daily travel routes the “tipping points” identified by the partial sum analyses indicate transitions between travel in small- versus large-scale space. The correspondence between the quantitative analyses and the field observations suggest great utility for using these types of analyses to examine primate travel patterns and especially in distinguishing between movement in small versus large-scale space. Only the distribution-fitting analyses are inconsistent with the field observations, which may be due to the scale at which these analyses were conducted. Am. J. Primatol. 76:421–435, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.