Dietary variation and food hardness in sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys): Implications for fallback foods and dental adaptation

  • McGraw W
  • Vick A
  • Daegling D
  • 23


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 19


    Citations of this article.


We present information on food hardness and monthly dietary changes in female sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys) in Tai Forest, Ivory Coast to reassess the hypothesis that thick molar enamel is parsimoniously interpreted as a response to consumption of hard foods during fallback periods. We demonstrate that the diet of sooty mangabeys varies seasonally, but that one food--Sacoglottis gabonensis--is the most frequently consumed food every month and year round. This food is the hardest item in the sooty diet. Given that this species has among the thickest enamel within the primate order, a plausible conclusion is that thick enamel in this taxon evolved not in response to seasonally critical function or fallback foods, but rather to the habitual, year round processing of a mechanically protected foodstuff. These data serve as a caution against de rigueur interpretations that reliance on fallback foods during lean periods primarily explains the evolution of thick enamel in primates.

Author-supplied keywords

  • durophagy
  • enamel thickness
  • seasonality

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • W. Scott McGraw

  • Anna E. Vick

  • David J. Daegling

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free