Development of object manipulation in wild chimpanzees
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Chimpanzees’ natural propensity to explore and play with objects is likely to be an important precursor of tool use. Manipulating objects provides individuals with pivotal perceptual-motor experience when interacting with the material world, which may then pave the way for subsequent tool use. In this study, we were interested in the influence of social models on the developmental patterns of object manipulation in young chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of the Sonso community of Budongo Forest, Uganda. This community is interesting because of its limited tool repertoire, with no records of stick-based foraging in over 20 years of continuous observations. Using cross-sectional data, we found evidence for social learning in that young individuals preferentially played with and explored materials manipulated by their mothers. We also found that object manipulation rates decreased with age, whereas the goal-directedness of these manipulations increased. Specifically, stick manipulations gradually decreased with age, which culminated in complete disregard of sticks around the age of 10 years, a pattern not found for other tool materials, which were all used throughout adulthood. Overall, young chimpanzees initially explored and played unselectively with any object found in the environment before becoming increasingly influenced by their mothers’ goal directed object manipulations.
Lamon , N , Neumann , C & Zuberbuhler , K 2018 , ' Development of object manipulation in wild chimpanzees ' , Animal Behaviour , vol. 135 , pp. 121-130 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.11.003
© 2017 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created accepted version manuscript following peer review and as such may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.11.003
DescriptionThis work was funded by the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement n° 283871 and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF, Project 310030_143359 to KZ).
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