Document Detail

Observational learning in orangutan cultural transmission chains.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20843841     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Field reports suggest that orangutans acquire local traditions by observing neighbouring conspecifics. However, there is little direct evidence of social learning to support this conclusion. The present study investigated whether orangutans would learn a novel foraging method through observation of a conspecific in a diffusion-chain paradigm testing for the spread of the behaviour. A foraging box with two possible methods for extracting food was used to investigate the transmission of a foraging tradition among zoo-living subjects. In a socially housed group of five orangutans, the dominant male was trained to use one technique exclusively to retrieve food. He then performed this technique in the presence of another group member, who was then allowed to forage. After several trials, the observer became the model for the next individual. A second experimental group of six individuals was introduced to the alternative method. The model-seeded technique was successfully transmitted along both experimental chains, with significant preferences for the model method. These results are consistent with claims for social transmission of foraging methods in wild orangutans.
Marietta Dindo; Tara Stoinski; Andrew Whiten
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2010-09-15
Journal Detail:
Title:  Biology letters     Volume:  7     ISSN:  1744-957X     ISO Abbreviation:  Biol. Lett.     Publication Date:  2011 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-03-14     Completed Date:  2011-06-29     Revised Date:  2013-05-27    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101247722     Medline TA:  Biol Lett     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  181-3     Citation Subset:  IM    
Mind, Brain and Evolution Cluster, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Behavior, Animal
Imitative Behavior
Pongo abelii / psychology*
Pongo pygmaeus / psychology*
Social Behavior

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