Food Acquisition and Processing in Primates : Concluding Discussion
This volume contains an abundance of data and ideas on the entire spectrum of food acquisition and processing. As such, it testifies to the meeting’s success and, in the opinion of the participants, to its significant achievements. Among these were the identification and initial exploration of several crucial problems, and the opportunity to consider these further during the last year aided in their resolution. There are, for example, difficulties in defining and describing structures and the function of those structures. These are partly semantic, partly a consequence of the imprecise application of some widely-used concepts, and the frequent failure to distinguish between function and biological role (see below). There are, consequently, even greater problems in inferring structure from function, and function (and biological role) from structure, particularly in view of the multiplicity of interpretations possible. For feeding studies, the key variables are the mechanical and chemical properties of the food consumed, and one of the most illuminating sessions of the conference was the corporate attempt to integrate the diverse aspects of primate biology relevant to feeding into a coherent, unifying theme.
KeywordsBiological Role Food Acquisition Tooth Wear Cheek Tooth Plant Secondary Compound
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