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Research Article

Vertebrate DNA in Fecal Samples from Bonobos and Gorillas: Evidence for Meat Consumption or Artefact?

  • Michael Hofreiter mail,

    msh503@york.ac.uk

    Affiliations: Research Group Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, Department of Biology, University of York, York, United Kingdom

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  • Eva Kreuz,

    Affiliation: Research Group Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

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  • Jonas Eriksson,

    Affiliations: Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, Animal Ecology, Evolutionary Biology Centre (EBC), Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

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  • Grit Schubert,

    Affiliation: Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

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  • Gottfried Hohmann

    Affiliation: Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

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  • Published: February 25, 2010
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009419

Reader Comments (1)

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Did we learn anything from this study?

Posted by lindavigilant on 09 Mar 2010 at 09:49 GMT

It is interesting that a study can be published in a peer-reviewed journal even though the title admits that the results may all be artefacts. It would not be hard to do a controlled study on this topic. There are groups of well-habituated chimpanzees where one could collect fecal samples after they have been observed to consume meat, and conversely there are well-studied wild gorillas that have never been observed to consume vertebrate prey. And to control for contamination of the fecal samples in the field, once could try amplifications from soil samples. Then it might be possible to actually say whether molecular analysis of primate diets using feces is useful or not, and perhaps even produce some believable results.

No competing interests declared.