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Mineral Acquisition from Clay by Budongo Forest Chimpanzees

Reynolds, Vernon, Lloyd, Andrew W., English, Christopher J., Lyons, Peter, Dodd, Howard, Hobaiter, Catherine, Newton-Fisher, Nicholas E., Mullins, Caroline, Lamon, Noemie, Marijke Schel, Anne, and others. (2015) Mineral Acquisition from Clay by Budongo Forest Chimpanzees. PLoS ONE, 10 (7). Article Number 134075. ISSN 1932-6203. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134075) (KAR id:49864)


Chimpanzees of the Sonso community, Budongo Forest, Uganda were observed eating clay and drinking clay-water from waterholes. We show that clay, clay-rich water, and clay obtained with leaf sponges, provide a range of minerals in different concentrations. The presence of aluminium in the clay consumed indicates that it takes the form of kaolinite. We discuss the contribution of clay geophagy to the mineral intake of the Sonso chimpanzees and show that clay eaten using leaf sponges is particularly rich in minerals. We show that termite mound soil, also regularly consumed, is rich in minerals. We discuss the frequency of clay and termite soil geophagy in the context of the disappearance from Budongo Forest of a formerly rich source of minerals, the decaying pith of Raphia farinifera palms.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134075
Uncontrolled keywords: chimpanzees, leaves, termites, surface water, forests, sodium, clay mineralogy, rivers
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Nicholas Newton-Fisher
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2015 07:14 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 06:04 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Newton-Fisher, Nicholas E..

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