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Biology Letters (1)
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Schiel, Nicola (3)
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Critically endangered blonde capuchins fish for termites and use new techniques to accomplish the task
Bione, Camila B. C.
Bezerra, Bruna M.
We report the spontaneous modification and use of sticks to fish for termites, above the ground, in wild blonde capuchins (Cebus flavius). These critically endangered Neotropical primates inhabit remnants of the Atlantic Forest. They used two previously undescribed techniques to enhance their termite capture success: nest tapping and stick rotation. The current ecologically based explanation for tool use in wild capuchins (i.e. terrestrial habits and bipedalism) must be viewed cautiously. Instead, remarkable manual skills linked to a varied diet seem important in promoting tool use in different contexts. The repertoire of tool-using techniques employed by wild capuchins has been expanded, highlighting the behavioural versatility in this genus.
tool use; manual skills; cognition; blonde capuchins; primates
Caatinga Revisited: Ecology and Conservation of an Important Seasonal Dry Forest
de Albuquerque, Ulysses Paulino
de Lima Araújo, Elcida
El-Deir, Ana Carla Asfora
de Lima, André Luiz Alves
Bezerra, Bruna Martins
Ferraz, Elba Maria Nogueira
Maria Xavier Freire, Eliza
Sampaio, Everardo Valadares de Sá Barreto
Las-Casas, Flor Maria Guedes
de Moura, Geraldo Jorge Barbosa
Pereira, Glauco Alves
de Melo, Joabe Gomes
Alves Ramos, Marcelo
Rodal, Maria Jesus Nogueira
de Lyra-Neves, Rachel Maria
Alves, Rômulo Romeu Nóbrega
de Azevedo-Júnior, Severino Mendes
Telino Júnior, Wallace Rodrigues
The Scientific World Journal
Besides its extreme climate conditions, the Caatinga (a type of tropical seasonal forest) hosts an impressive faunal and floristic biodiversity. In the last 50 years there has been a considerable increase in the number of studies in the area. Here we aimed to present a review of these studies, focusing on four main fields: vertebrate ecology, plant ecology, human ecology, and ethnobiology. Furthermore, we identify directions for future research. We hope that the present paper will help defining actions and strategies for the conservation of the biological diversity of the Caatinga.
The Maintenance of Traditions in Marmosets: Individual Habit, Not Social Conformity? A Field Experiment
Pesendorfer, Mario B.
Social conformity is a cornerstone of human culture because it accelerates and maintains the spread of behaviour within a group. Few empirical studies have investigated the role of social conformity in the maintenance of traditions despite an increasing body of literature on the formation of behavioural patterns in non-human animals. The current report presents a field experiment with free-ranging marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) which investigated whether social conformity is necessary for the maintenance of behavioural patterns within groups or whether individual effects such as habit formation would suffice.
Using a two-action apparatus, we established alternative behavioural patterns in six family groups composed of 36 individuals. These groups experienced only one technique during a training phase and were thereafter tested with two techniques available. The monkeys reliably maintained the trained method over a period of three weeks, despite discovering the alternative technique. Three additional groups were given the same number of sessions, but those 21 individuals could freely choose the method to obtain a reward. In these control groups, an overall bias towards one of the two methods was observed, but animals with a different preference did not adjust towards the group norm. Thirteen of the fifteen animals that discovered both techniques remained with the action with which they were initially successful, independent of the group preference and the type of action (Binomial test: exp. proportion: 0.5, p<0.01).
The results indicate that the maintenance of behavioural patterns within groups 1) could be explained by the first rewarded manipulation and subsequent habit formation and 2) do not require social conformity as a mechanism. After an initial spread of a behaviour throughout a group, this mechanism may lead to a superficial appearance of conformity without the involvement of such a socially and cognitively complex mechanism. This is the first time that such an experiment has been conducted with free-ranging primates.
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