• Positional behavior;
  • Pan troglodytes


Currently two methods, instantaneous and locomotor bout sampling, are used most commonly in studies of locomotor behavior. To date, no study has addressed how comparable the results of the two methods are. This paper considers whether different sampling methods of locomotor behavior produce different results.

Continuous locomotor bout and instantaneous sampling were carried out simultaneously on each focal animal during a seven month study of chimpanzee positional behavior in the Tai Forest of the Ivory Coast. Results provide two independent sets of data which describe the same events.

Results indicate that as locomotor bouts are frequently presented (the percentage of bouts spent in an activity), they overrepresent the frequencies of activities that occur relatively often, but for short distances, and underrepresent activities that have a relatively large mean distance per bout. However, when bouts are weighted with distance, as originally defined by Fleagle (1976b), there are no significant differences in the results obtained by the two methods. Both provide similar results for the frequencies of locomotor activities, frequency of substrate use, and the relationship between substrate and locomotor activity.

The advantage of instantaneous sampling is that because it is done at regular intervals, it can easily be carried out in conjunction with sampling other behavioral and ecological data. The advantages of locomotor bout sampling are that it permits the sampling of rare or brief locomotor events and allows for an analysis of sequences of locomotor activities.

This paper demonstrates that the two methods can be conducted simultaneously and thus provide the richest return from which the effect of environment and morphology on locomotion can be addressed. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.