Journal Article What volume of seeds can a chimpanzee carry in its body?

Nakamura, Michio  ,  Sakamaki, Tetsuya  ,  Zamma, Koichiro

58 ( 1 )  , pp.13 - 17 , 2017-1 , Springer Japan
Great apes are important seed dispersers with large bodies, able to swallow large seeds and travel long distances. Although there have been several studies investigating seed dispersal quality [sensu Schupp (Vegetatio 107/108:15–29, 1993)] by chimpanzees, there is little information on the volume of seeds they can carry in their bodies. When a relatively fresh corpse of a mature female chimpanzee was found at Mahale, Tanzania, we took advantage of the rare opportunity to investigate the total weight and cubic volume of seeds recovered from the corpse. The seeds contained in the corpse weighed 258.8 g (dry weight) and measured 489.4 cm3. The volume of seeds was 14.7 % of the previously reported capacity of the digestive tract of a chimpanzee in captivity. We also indirectly estimated the volume of seeds from the values of observed seed volume in feces, the reported number of defecations per day, and the seed passage time. The estimated volume was significantly lower than the observed seed volume, suggesting that the number of defecations per day is underestimated because it may not include nighttime defecation.

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