Document Detail

Why be diurnal? Or, why not be cathemeral?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16415578     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
As a behavioural strategy, cathemerality is thought to confer considerable advantages by allowing animals to extend activity flexibly into either the diurnal or nocturnal phase in response to the prevailing ecological conditions. Factors such as temperature, access to food sources and minimising the risk of predation are all thought to be important in promoting cathemerality, although previous studies have produced inconsistent results. This paper adopts a different approach by first asking whether an obligate diurnal species, the chacma baboon (Papio hamadryas ursinus), exhibits seasonal variation in behavioural flexibility in response to annual cycles of day length. While short day lengths are an important constraint on the activity of the baboons at De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa, long summer days permit considerable flexibility in thermoregulatory response, diet selection and patterns of habitat choice. Given that baboons adapt flexibly in response to a relaxation of time constraints, the question thus arises as to why diurnal and nocturnal primates do not adopt cathemeral activity patterns when time is constrained? For baboons, the costs of predation appear to prohibit exploitation of the nocturnal phase and it is likely that such constraints are true of most primates. It thus follows that Madagascar's predatory environment must in some way permit or select for a cathemeral lifestyle. The importance of the predation by fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) on the evolution of cathemerality is discussed.
R A Hill
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Folia primatologica; international journal of primatology     Volume:  77     ISSN:  0015-5713     ISO Abbreviation:  Folia Primatol.     Publication Date:  2006  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-01-17     Completed Date:  2006-09-15     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370723     Medline TA:  Folia Primatol (Basel)     Country:  Switzerland    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  72-86     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright (c) 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Evolutionary Anthropology Research Group, Department of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Behavior, Animal / physiology*
Carnivora / physiology
Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
Papio ursinus / physiology*
Predatory Behavior / physiology
South Africa

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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