Chimpanzees’ behavioral flexibility, social tolerance and use of tool-composites in a progressively challenging foraging problem
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Behavioral flexibility is a critical ability allowing animals to respond to changes in their environment. Previous studies have found evidence of inflexibility when captive chimpanzees are faced with changing task parameters. We provided two groups of sanctuary-housed chimpanzees with a foraging task in which solutions were restricted over time. Initially, juice could be retrieved from within a tube by hand or by using tool materials, but effective solutions were then restricted by narrowing the tube, necessitating the abandonment of previous solutions and adoption of new ones. Chimpanzees responded flexibly, but one group increased their use of effective techniques to a greater extent than the other. Tool-composite techniques emerged in both groups, but primarily in the more flexible group. The more flexible group also showed higher rates of socio-positive behaviors at the task. In conjunction, these findings support the hypothesis that social tolerance may facilitate the emergence and spread of novel behaviors.
Harrison , R A , van Leeuwen , E & Whiten , A 2021 , ' Chimpanzees’ behavioral flexibility, social tolerance and use of tool-composites in a progressively challenging foraging problem ' , iScience , vol. 24 , no. 2 , 102033 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2021.102033
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
DescriptionThis work was supported by a John Templeton Foundation grant ID 40128 to A.W. and K. Laland. R. A. H. is currently supported by a Swiss National Science Foundation grant (PP00P3_170624) awarded to Erica van de Waal. E.J.C.v.L. is currently funded by a Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO).
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