Innovation in wild Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus)

Amici, Federica, Caicoya, Alvaro L, Majolo, Bonaventura and Widdig, Anja (2020) Innovation in wild Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). Scientific Reports, 10 . p. 4597. ISSN 2045-2322

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-61558-2

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Innovation in wild Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus)
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Abstract

Innovation is the ability to solve novel problems or find novel solutions to familiar problems, and it is known to affect fitness in both human and non-human animals. In primates, innovation has been mostly studied in captivity, although differences in living conditions may affect individuals’ ability to innovate. Here, we tested innovation in a wild group of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). In four different conditions, we presented the group with several identical foraging boxes containing food. To understand which individual characteristics and behavioural strategies best predicted innovation rate, we measured the identity of the individuals manipulating the boxes and retrieving the food, and their behaviour during the task. Our results showed that success in the novel task was mainly affected by the experimental contingencies and the behavioural strategies used during the task. Individuals were more successful in the 1-step conditions, if they participated in more trials, showed little latency to approach the boxes and mainly manipulated functional parts of the box. In contrast, we found no effect of inhibition, social facilitation and individual characteristics like sex, age, rank, centrality, neophobia and reaction to humans, on the individuals’ ability to innovate.

Keywords:Barbary Macaques, Animal cognition, Gibraltar, Primate behaviour
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:41037
Deposited On:05 Jun 2020 15:49

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