Publications by authors named "Thomas M Butynski"

15 Publications

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Can morphotaxa be assessed with photographs? Estimating the accuracy of 2D cranial geometric morphometrics for the study of threatened populations of African monkeys.

Anat Rec (Hoboken) 2021 Oct 1. Epub 2021 Oct 1.

Eastern Africa Primate Diversity and Conservation Program & Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme, Nanyuki, Kenya.

The classification of most mammalian orders and families is under debate and the number of species is likely greater than currently recognized. Improving taxonomic knowledge is crucial, as biodiversity is in rapid decline. Morphology is a source of taxonomic knowledge, and geometric morphometrics applied to two dimensional (2D) photographs of anatomical structures is commonly employed for quantifying differences within and among lineages. Photographs are informative, easy to obtain, and low cost. 2D analyses, however, introduce a large source of measurement error when applied to crania and other highly three dimensional (3D) structures. To explore the potential of 2D analyses for assessing taxonomic diversity, we use patas monkeys (Erythrocebus), a genus of large, semi-terrestrial, African guenons, as a case study. By applying a range of tests to compare ventral views of adult crania measured both in 2D and 3D, we show that, despite inaccuracies accounting for up to ¼ of individual shape differences, results in 2D almost perfectly mirror those in 3D. This apparent paradox might be explained by the small strength of covariation in the component of shape variance related to measurement error. A rigorous standardization of photographic settings and the choice of almost coplanar landmarks are likely to further improve the correspondence of 2D to 3D shapes. 2D geometric morphometrics is, thus, appropriate for taxonomic comparisons of patas ventral crania. Although it is early to generalize, our results corroborate similar findings from previous research in mammals, and suggest that 2D shape analyses are an effective heuristic tool for morphological investigation of small differences. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ar.24787DOI Listing
October 2021

Is the southern patas monkey Erythrocebus baumstarki Africa's next primate extinction? Reassessing taxonomy, distribution, abundance, and conservation.

Am J Primatol 2021 Oct 2;83(10):e23316. Epub 2021 Sep 2.

Eastern Africa Primate Diversity and Conservation Program, Nanyuki, Kenya.

The "Critically Endangered" southern patas monkey Erythrocebus baumstarki, thought to be endemic to Tanzania, has been resurrected to species level based on its geographic isolation, and on the coloration and pattern of its pelage. This study presents the first evidence for E. baumstarki in Kenya and reviews its historic and current geographic distributions based on the literature, museum specimens, online platforms, responses to requests for site records, and our own fieldwork. The distribution of E. baumstarki in the early 20th century was roughly 66,000 km . This has declined about 85% to around 9700 km at present (post-2009). The current "Extent of Occurrence" is only about 2150 km . This species was extirpated from Kenya in about 2015 and from the Kilimanjaro Region in Tanzania in about 2011. At present, E. baumstarki appears to be restricted to the protected areas of the western Serengeti, with the western Serengeti National Park being the stronghold. The number of individuals remaining is probably between 100 and 200, including between 50 and 100 mature individuals. The ultimate threat to E. baumstarki is the very rapidly increasing human population, while the main proximate threats are the degradation, loss, and fragmentation of natural habitats, and the related competition with people and livestock for habitat and water, particularly during droughts. Other problems are hunting by poachers and domestic dogs, and probably loss of genetic variation and climate change. This article provides recommendations for reducing the threats and promoting the recovery of E. baumstarki. We hope this article heightens awareness of the dire conservation status of E. baumstarki and encourages an increase in research and conservation action for this monkey.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23316DOI Listing
October 2021

Prey preferences of the chimpanzee ().

Ecol Evol 2021 Jun 4;11(12):7138-7146. Epub 2021 May 4.

Conservation Biology Research Group School of Environmental and Life Sciences University of Newcastle Callaghan NSW Australia.

The common chimpanzee is the closest extant relative of modern humans and is often used as a model organism to help understand prehistoric human behavior and ecology. Originally presumed herbivorous, chimpanzees have been observed hunting 24 species of birds, ungulates, rodents, and other primates, using an array of techniques from tools to group cooperation. Using the literature on chimpanzee hunting behavior and diet from 13 studies, we aimed to determine the prey preferences of chimpanzees. We extracted data on prey-specific variables such as targeted species, their body weight, and their abundance within the prey community, and hunter-specific variables such as hunting method, and chimpanzee group size and sex ratio. We used these data in a generalized linear model to determine what factors drive chimpanzee prey preference. We calculated a Jacobs' index value for each prey species killed at two sites in Uganda and two sites in Tanzania. Chimpanzees prefer prey with a body weight of 7.6 ± 0.4 kg or less, which corresponds to animals such as juvenile bushbuck () and adult ashy red colobus monkeys (). Sex ratio in chimpanzee groups is a main driver in developing these preferences, where chimpanzees increasingly prefer prey when in proportionally male-dominated groups. Prey preference information from chimpanzee research can assist conservation management programs by identifying key prey species to manage, as well as contribute to a better understanding of the evolution of human hunting behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7633DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8216973PMC
June 2021

ERADICATION OF FROM TWO CAPTIVE GAZELLE POPULATIONS IN SAUDI ARABIA.

J Zoo Wildl Med 2019 Sep;50(3):706-712

Faculty of Science, School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 3AF, United Kingdom.

An outbreak of brucellosis occurred in a group of 726 sand gazelles () at the Prince Mohammed Al-Sudairi Gazelle Breeding Center and in a group of 47 putative "Neumann's gazelles" () housed at the King Khalid Wildlife Research Center in Saudi Arabia. Clinical signs of anorexia, poor body condition, enlarged testes, reluctance to walk, swollen carpal joints, and suppurative arthritis were present in 16 sand gazelles and 14 Neumann's gazelles. All clinical cases were evaluated using a card agglutination test, complement fixation, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. All cases were serologically positive for , confirmed through culture and isolation of the microorganism. DNA was extracted from the isolated organisms, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used for sequencing. Evaluation focused on tracking the source of infection, the management of the two outbreaks, and the subsequent diagnosis, treatments, and success, including the successful eradication of from both populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/1638/2016-0277DOI Listing
September 2019

Low Geographic and Subspecific Variation in the Loud Call of the Widespread and Phenotypically Cryptic Northern Lesser Galago (Galago senegalensis) Suggests Taxonomic Uniformity.

Folia Primatol (Basel) 2019 15;90(5):300-318. Epub 2019 Aug 15.

Nocturnal Primate Research Group, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Like other nocturnal primates, many species of galago (Galagidae) are phenotypically cryptic, making their taxonomic status difficult to resolve. Recent taxonomic work has disentangled some of the confusion. This has resulted in an increase in the number of recognised galago species. The most widespread galago species, and indeed the most widespread nocturnal primate, is the northern lesser galago (Galago senegalensis) whose geographic range stretches >7,000 km across Africa. Based on morphology, 4 subspecies are currently recognised: G. s. senegalensis, G. s. braccatus, G. s. sotikae and G. s. dunni. We explore geographic and subspecific acoustic variation in G. senegalensis, testing three hypotheses: isolation by distance, genetic basis, and isolation by barrier. There is statistical support for isolation by distance for 2 of 4 call parameters (fundamental frequency and unit length). Geographic distance explains a moderate amount of the acoustic variation. Discriminant function analysis provides some degree of separation of geographic regions and subspecies, but the percentage of misdesignation is high. Despite having (putative) parapatric geographic ranges, the most pronounced acoustic differences are between G. s. senegalensis and G. s. dunni. The findings suggest that the Eastern Rift Valley and Niger River are significant barriers for G. senegalensis. The acoustic structures of the loud calls of 121 individuals from 28 widespread sites are not significantly different. Although this makes it unlikely that additional unrecognised species occur within G. senegalensis at the sites sampled, vast areas of the geographic range remain unsampled. We show that wide-ranging species do not necessarily exhibit large amounts of variation in their vocal repertoire. This pattern may also be present in nocturnal primates with smaller geographic ranges.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000499654DOI Listing
December 2019

Vocal Repertoire and Intraspecific Variation within Two Loud Calls of the Small-Eared Greater Galago (Otolemur garnettii) in Tanzania and Kenya.

Folia Primatol (Basel) 2019 15;90(5):319-335. Epub 2019 Aug 15.

Division of Biology and Conservation Ecology, John Dalton East, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Vocal repertoires and call structure can provide insights into the behaviour and evolution of species, as well as aid in taxonomic classification. Nocturnal primates have large vocal repertoires. This suggests that acoustic communication plays an important role in their life histories. Little is known about the behavioural context or the intraspecific variation of their vocalisations. We used autonomous recording units and manual recorders to investigate the vocal behaviour and structure of loud calls of the small-eared greater galago (Otolemur garnettii)in Kenya and Tanzania. We describe the vocal repertoire, temporal calling patterns and structure of 2 loud calls of 2 subspecies: O. g. panganiensis and O. g. kikuyuensis. We found considerable intraspecific structural differences in both loud calls. These are congruent with the current subspecies classification. Differences in vocalisations among populations are not consistent with the "acoustic adaptation hypothesis," rather they are likely a result of geographic variation due to isolation caused by vegetational barriers in southern Kenya.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000500260DOI Listing
December 2019

An annotated checklist of mammals of Kenya.

Zool Res 2019 01 17;40(1):3-52. Epub 2018 Oct 17.

Sino-African Joint Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nairobi 62000-00200, Kenya.

Kenya has a rich mammalian fauna. We reviewed recently published books and papers including the six volumes of to develop an up-to-date annotated checklist of all mammals recorded from Kenya. A total of 390 species have been identified in the country, including 106 species of rodents, 104 species of bats, 63 species of even-toed ungulates (including whales and dolphins), 36 species of insectivores and carnivores, 19 species of primates, five species of elephant shrews, four species of hyraxes and odd-toed ungulates, three species of afrosoricids, pangolins, and hares, and one species of aardvark, elephant, sirenian and hedgehog. The number of species in this checklist is expected to increase with additional surveys and as the taxonomic status of small mammals (e.g., bats, shrews and rodents) becomes better understood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.059DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6350106PMC
January 2019

Sleep patterns, daytime predation, and the evolution of diurnal sleep site selection in lorisiforms.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2018 07;166(3):563-577

Nocturnal Primate Research Group, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Objectives: Synthesize information on sleep patterns, sleep site use, and daytime predation at sleep sites in lorisiforms of Asia and Africa (10 genera, 36 species), and infer patterns of evolution of sleep site selection.

Materials And Methods: We conducted fieldwork in 12 African and six Asian countries, collecting data on sleep sites, timing of sleep and predation during daytime. We obtained additional information from literature and through correspondence. Using a phylogenetic approach, we established ancestral states of sleep site selection in lorisiforms and traced their evolution.

Results: The ancestral lorisiform was a fur-clinger and used dense tangles and branches/forks as sleep sites. Use of tree holes and nests as sleep sites emerged ∼22 Mya (range 17-26 Mya) in Africa, and use of bamboo emerged ∼11 (7-14) Mya in Asia and later in Africa. Fur clinging and some sleep sites (e.g., tree holes, nests, but not bamboo or dense tangles) show strong phylogenetic signal. Nests are used by Galagoides, Paragalago, Galago and Otolemur; tree holes by Galago, Paragalago, Sciurocheirus and Perodicticus; tangles by Nycticebus, Loris, Galagoides, Galago, Euoticus, Otolemur, Perodicticus and Arctocebus; all but Sciurocheirus and Otolemur additionally sleep on branches/forks. Daytime predation may affect sleep site selection and sleep patterns in some species of Nycticebus, Galago, Galagoides, Otolemur and Perodicticus. Most lorisiforms enter their sleep sites around sunrise and leave around sunset; several are active during twilight or, briefly, during daytime.

Conclusion: Variations in sleep behavior, sleep patterns and vulnerability to daytime predation provide a window into the variation that was present in sleep in early primates. Overall, lorisiforms use the daytime for sleeping and no species can be classified as cathemeral or polycyclic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23450DOI Listing
July 2018

Insights into the genetic foundation of aggression in Papio and the evolution of two length-polymorphisms in the promoter regions of serotonin-related genes (5-HTTLPR and MAOALPR) in Papionini.

BMC Evol Biol 2016 06 10;16(1):121. Epub 2016 Jun 10.

Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center (DPZ), Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Kellnerweg 4, 37077, Göttingen, Germany.

Background: Aggressive behaviors are an integral part of competitive interactions. There is considerable variation in aggressiveness among individuals both within and among species. Aggressiveness is a quantitative trait that is highly heritable. In modern humans and macaques (Macaca spp.), variation in aggressiveness among individuals is associated with polymorphisms in the serotonergic (5-HT) neurotransmitter system. To further investigate the genetics underlying interspecific variation in aggressiveness, 123 wild individuals from five baboon species (Papio papio, P. hamadryas, P. anubis, P. cynocephalus, and P. ursinus) were screened for two polymorphisms in promoter regions of genes relevant for the 5-HT system (5-HTTLPR and MAOALPR).

Results: Surprisingly, despite considerable interspecific variation in aggressiveness, baboons are monomorphic in 5-HTTLPR, except for P. hamadryas, which carries one additional allele. Accordingly, this locus cannot be linked to behavioral variation among species. A comparison among 19 papionin species, including nine species of macaques, shows that the most common baboon allele is similar to the one described for Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus), probably representing the ancestral allele in this tribe. It should be noted that (almost) all baboons live in Africa, but within Macaca only M. sylvanus lives on this continent. Baboons are, however, highly polymorphic in the so-called 'warrior gene' MAOALPR, carrying three alleles. Due to considerable variation in allele frequencies among populations of the same species, this genotype cannot be invoked to explain variation in aggressiveness at the species level.

Conclusions: This study provides another indication that 5-HTTLPR is not related to aggressiveness in primates per se, but may have been under differential selective pressures among taxa and potentially among populations in different geographic regions. The results on MAOALPR alleles in Papio indicate that variation in the metabolism of monoamine neurotransmitters and associated behaviors is more important among populations than among species. We, therefore, propose to compile behavioral data from additional populations of Papio to obtain further insight into the genetics underlying behavioral differences among primate species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12862-016-0693-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4901440PMC
June 2016

Out of Africa, but how and when? The case of hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas).

J Hum Evol 2014 Nov 23;76:154-64. Epub 2014 Sep 23.

Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Göttingen, Germany. Electronic address:

Many species of Arabian mammals are considered to be of Afrotropical origin and for most of them the Red Sea has constituted an obstacle for dispersal since the Miocene-Pliocene transition. There are two possible routes, the 'northern' and the 'southern', for terrestrial mammals (including humans) to move between Africa and Arabia. The 'northern route', crossing the Sinai Peninsula, is confirmed for several taxa by an extensive fossil record, especially from northern Egypt and the Levant, whereas the 'southern route', across the Bab-el-Mandab Strait, which links the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden, is more controversial, although post-Pliocene terrestrial crossings of the Red Sea might have been possible during glacial maxima when sea levels were low. Hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas) are the only baboon taxon to disperse out of Africa and still inhabit Arabia. In this study, we investigate the origin of Arabian hamadryas baboons using mitochondrial sequence data from 294 samples collected in Arabia and Northeast Africa. Through the analysis of the geographic distribution of genetic diversity, the timing of population expansions, and divergence time estimates combined with palaeoecological data, we test: (i) if Arabian and African hamadryas baboons are genetically distinct; (ii) if Arabian baboons exhibit population substructure; and (iii) when, and via which route, baboons colonized Arabia. Our results suggest that hamadryas baboons colonized Arabia during the Late Pleistocene (130-12 kya [thousands of years ago]) and also moved back to Africa. We reject the hypothesis that hamadryas baboons were introduced to Arabia by humans, because the initial colonization considerably predates the earliest records of human seafaring in this region. Our results strongly suggest that the 'southern route' from Africa to Arabia could have been used by hamadryas baboons during the same time period as proposed for modern humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.08.003DOI Listing
November 2014

The status of the world's land and marine mammals: diversity, threat, and knowledge.

Science 2008 Oct;322(5899):225-30

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Programme, IUCN, 28 Rue Mauverney, 1196 Gland, Switzerland.

Knowledge of mammalian diversity is still surprisingly disparate, both regionally and taxonomically. Here, we present a comprehensive assessment of the conservation status and distribution of the world's mammals. Data, compiled by 1700+ experts, cover all 5487 species, including marine mammals. Global macroecological patterns are very different for land and marine species but suggest common mechanisms driving diversity and endemism across systems. Compared with land species, threat levels are higher among marine mammals, driven by different processes (accidental mortality and pollution, rather than habitat loss), and are spatially distinct (peaking in northern oceans, rather than in Southeast Asia). Marine mammals are also disproportionately poorly known. These data are made freely available to support further scientific developments and conservation action.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1165115DOI Listing
October 2008

The highland mangabey Lophocebus kipunji: a new species of African monkey.

Science 2005 May;308(5725):1161-4

Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Box 99, Mang'ula, Tanzania.

A distinct species of mangabey was independently found at two sites 370 kilometers apart in southern Tanzania (Mount Rungwe and Livingstone in the Southern Highlands and Ndundulu in the Udzungwa Mountains). This new species is described here and given the name "highland mangabey" Lophocebus kipunji sp. nov. We place this monkey in Lophocebus, because it possesses noncontrasting black eyelids and is arboreal. L. kipunji is distinguished from other mangabeys by the color of its pelage; long, upright crest; off-white tail and ventrum; and loud call. This find has implications for primate evolution, African biogeography, and forest conservation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1109191DOI Listing
May 2005

Gorillas of Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest and the Virunga Volcanoes: Taxonomic implications of morphological and ecological differences.

Am J Primatol 1996 ;40(1):1-21

Zoo Atlanta/National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya.

Based on their geographic proximity to the Virunga Volcanoes (≈ 25 km), the Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest gorillas have been referred to the subspecies Gorilla gorilla beringei. Differences in anatomy, habitat, ecology, and behavior, however, suggest Bwindi gorillas are distinct from those in the Virungas. Relative to Virunga gorillas, Bwindi gorillas live at lower elevations, in warmer temperatures, are much more arboreal, have longer day ranges and larger home ranges, and eat much more fruit and pith, and less bamboo and leaves. Morphological differences reflect the differences in ecology, habitat, and behavior. Bwindi gorillas measured have smaller bodies, relatively longer limbs, hands, and feet, shorter trunks, thumbs, big toes, and tooth row lengths, and narrower trunks and orbital breadths than Virunga gorillas. These differences indicate Bwindi gorillas do not belong to G.g. beringei and should not be referred to as "mountain gorillas." How unique the distinguishing features of Bwindi gorillas are, and whether or not they should be assigned to a new taxon, depends on the expression of these features in eastern lowland gorillas (G.g. graueri). © 1996 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2345(1996)40:1<1::AID-AJP1>3.0.CO;2-1DOI Listing
January 1996

Use of male blue monkey "Pyow" calls for long-term individual identification.

Am J Primatol 1992 ;28(3):183-189

Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

This study examines whether individual adult male blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis stuhlmanni) can be identified through acoustic analysis of their "pyow" calls. It is possible to reliably assign the pyow call of the blue monkeys of Kibale Forest, Uganda, to the individual caller based on the acoustic properties of the vocalization. Analysis of pyows made by a recognizable male over a 10-yr period shows that the acoustic properties of one individual's pyow call can remain relatively constant over time. Acoustic analysis of pyow calls may provide a relatively easy and reliable method to document tenure lengths of adult male blue monkeys resident in groups. Similar analyses of the loud calls of other species of primates may, likewise, prove to be useful in documenting long-term membership. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajp.1350280303DOI Listing
January 1992

Harem-male replacement and infanticide in the blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitus stuhlmanni) in the Kibale Forest, Uganda.

Am J Primatol 1982 ;3(1-4):1-22

New York Zoological Society and the Rockefeller University and Makerere University, New York.

This paper (1) describes the first observations of male replacement and infanticide in the blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis stuhlmanni), (2) examines these observations in light of those hypotheses put forth to explain infanticide, and (3) presents two basic models through which additional hypotheses are developed. Five groups of blue monkeys were observed for 2,724 hr in the Kibale Forest, Uganda. The pattern of infanticide in the blue monkey was strikingly similar to that reported for other species of primates living in one-male bisexual groups. Data concerning infanticide in the blue monkey do not support the hypothesis that infanticide is a maladaptive behavioral pathology. The data indirectly support the hypothesis that infanticide is part of a flexible, adaptive reproductive strategy of new harem-males. According to Model I, two of the hypothese for explaining how infanticide may be adaptive to the perpetrator are not mutually exclusive. Model II suggests that the rate of infanticide is directly related to competition among males for females and indirectly related to tenure length of harem-males. Models I and II underscore the importance of understanding what variables determine tenure length in haremmales. It is cocluded that length of male tenure is most likely a critical determinant of inclusive fitness not only for males but also for females.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajp.1350030102DOI Listing
January 2020
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