Welcome to Celia Lacomme who just obtained her PhD bursary to work on the effect of anthropogenic diet on chacma baboon’s microbiome and health
In the course of their evolution, just as humans have colonized every corner and biome of our planet, chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) have explored a wide variety of territories in southern Africa (from Namibia to Mozambique to South Africa). This non-human primate species is indeed present in savannahs, low and high grasslands, coastal and mountain forests, as well as in more extreme environments such as high-altitude mountains (>3,280 m in South Africa) or deserts (Namibian Desert, Karoo in South Africa). Their presence in such a diversity of environments reflects their incredible ability to adapt to different and variable natural conditions. Over the course of their history, chacma baboons have been confronted with the arrival of human populations that have resulted in significant modifications to the landscape that have become increasingly fragmented. Faced with this fragmentation of the natural landscapes, chacma baboons, like other animal species, began to colonize increasingly anthropized environments. It is well known that these anthropogenic alterations are major factors affecting primate populations worldwide, including in Africa. Through the colonization of these increasingly anthropized environments, chacma baboons have faced new conditions that differ from their natural environments, including exposure to as a first factor a new human modified diet, but also then new pathogens, and different hazards, to name but a few. Then, this transition from a natural environment to an increasingly anthropized environment raises a key question: What are the consequences of this transition from a natural diet to an anthropogenic diet, characterized as rich in carbohydrates and fats, on the gut microbiome and health of chacma baboons?