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Digestion and kinetics of chimp

Digestion and kinetics of chimp - Digestion and Passage...

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Digestion and Passage Kinetics of Chimpanzees Fed High and Low Fiber Diets and Comparison with Human Data1'2 KATHARINE MILTON AHDMONTAGUE W. DEMMENT* Department of Anthropology, university of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 and 'Department of Agronomy and Range Science, university of California, Davis, CA 95616 ABSTRACT To investigate the digestive kinetics and fi ber digestion of great apes, we conducted digestion trials on chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) with diets of two fiber levels, one containing 34% neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and the other 14% NDF. Chimpanzees exhibited a re sponse to fiber similar to that of humans. First, increases inthe fiberconcentration of the diet decreased mean transit time (MTT), hindgut turnover time (T) and the digestibility of fiber. Second, differences in MTT and T between the treatments and animals explained most of the variabilityin the digestibility of fibercomponents. Third,consistent with human data, the fiber marker passed more slowly than the liquid marker only when the high fiber diet was consumed. Fourth, individualvariability,as in humans, was a significant factor affecting digestion and passage. Fifth, the MTT of chimpanzees was longer than that of humans. This result may be due to the apes' largerhindgut. Incomparison with other hominoids, humans have smaller volumes in the gas trointestinal tract and hindgut. The gut proportions of mod ern humans, in combination with evidence from the fossil record, indicate that during its evolution the human lineage was able to overcome nutritional constraints imposed on body size increases in the great apes. We suggest that this advance was achieved through technological and social innovations that permitted early humans to achieve larger body size without lowering dietary quality. J. Nutr. 118: 1082-1088, 1988. INDEXING KEY WORDS: digestion humans kinetics •fiber human evolution chimpanzees The great apes (Pongidae) share a close common an cestry with modern humans (1,2). For this reason, com parative studies of apes and humans are of particular interest because they help to elucidate the pattern of evolutionary change that has characterized the human lineage. Many aspects of ape morphology, physiology and ecology have been examined (3, 4); however, the digestive physiology of apes is largely unknown. This omission is surprising in view of current interest in the evolutionary determinants of human dietary adapta tion and the diet of ancestral hominids (5-7). A number of current human health problems appear to have a foundation in contemporary diet, suggesting that the pattern of food consumption in Western societies may be inappropriate (8, 9) and inconsistent with diets of early hominids (10, 11). In particular, considerable at tention has focused on the role of fiber in the human diet, with special interest in the effects of low levels of fiber consumption on disease and colon function (8, 9, 12, 13). The natural diets of all great apes are com posed almost exclusively of plant matter and thus con tain a high proportion of dietary fiber (3, 14). Infor mation
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