Wall Lab

Energetic Costs of Feeding in Primates

This is a long-term project to collect novel data on the energetic costs of feeding behaviors in primates.  Animals eat because they need energy to live and reproduce, but we know almost nothing about how much it costs primates to eat or how these costs are related to the evolution of feeding structures.  Respirometry measurements combined with simultaneous digital video recordings are being collected for 14 primate species ranging in size from 60 g (Microcebus murinus) to 80,000 g (human).  We are quantifying how the energetic costs of feeding scale relative to body mass, to morphological features such as mandibular size and tooth size, to dietary parameters such as food toughness, size, and strength, and to different types of feeding behaviors.  By looking at a variety of feeding behaviors and quantifying the costs of these behaviors, we will generate a more comprehensive understanding of the selective pressures related to diet and food choice in primates.  During 2015, we will be busy collecting respirometry data on strepsirrhines at the Duke Lemur Center and on Old World monkeys at the Duke Vivarium.  Collaborators on this project are Jandy Hanna, Matt O’Neill, Ken Glander, Jonathan Perry, and Janine Chalk


  • Wall et al. (2010)