Navigation Links
'Grass-in-the-ear' technique sets new trend in chimp etiquette
Date:7/3/2014

Chimpanzees are copycats and, in the process, they form new traditions that are often particular to only one specific group of these primates. Such are the findings of an international group of scientists, who waded through over 700 hours of video footage to understand how it came about that one chimpanzee stuck a piece of grass in her ear and started a new trend, and others soon followed suit. The findings of the study, led by Edwin van Leeuwen of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in The Netherlands, are published in Springer's journal Animal Cognition.

In 2010, van Leeuwen first noticed how a female chimp named Julie repeatedly put a stiff, strawlike blade of grass for no apparent reason in one or both of her ears. She left it there even when she was grooming, playing or resting in Zambia's Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust sanctuary. On subsequent visits, van Leeuwen saw that other chimpanzees in her group had started to do the same.

This aroused his interest to find out if they copied what Julie did by watching and learning from her through so-called social learning. The research team, including Zambians who monitor the chimpanzees daily, collected and analyzed 740 hours of footage that had been shot during the course of a year of 94 chimpanzees living in four different social groups in the sanctuary. Only two of these groups could see one another.

The research team found that only one of the four groups regularly performed this so-called "grass-in-the-ear" behavior. In one other group one chimpanzee once did the same. Eight of the twelve chimpanzees in Julie's group repeatedly did so. The first to copy her was her son, Jack, followed by Kathy, Miracle and Val with whom she regularly interacted. Generally at least two of the chimps put grass in their ear at the same time. Interestingly, the chimpanzees Kathy and Val kept up the custom even after Julie, the original inventor of this behavior, died.

The observations show that there's nothing random about individual chimpanzees sticking grass into their ears. They spontaneously copied the arbitrary behavior from a group member. Chimpanzees have a tendency to learn from one another clearly a case of "monkey see, monkey do" in fact. Van Leeuwen suggests that those animals that find a specific behavior somehow rewarding will continue to do so on their own, even if the chimpanzee they have learned it from is no longer around.

"This reflects chimpanzees' proclivity to actively investigate and learn from group members' behaviors in order to obtain biologically relevant information," says van Leeuwen. "The fact that these behaviors can be arbitrary and outlast the originator speaks to the cultural potential of chimpanzees."


'/>"/>

Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Research team pursues techniques to improve elusive stem cell therapy
2. Big data technique improves monitoring of kidney transplant patients
3. New digital fabrication technique creates interlocking 3D-printed ceramic PolyBricks
4. Criminal profiling technique targets killer diseases
5. Developing an improved liposuction technique that melts fat
6. New technique to prevent anal sphincter lesions due to episiotomy during child delivery
7. Novel ORNL technique enables air-stable water droplet networks
8. Study validates air sampling techniques to fight bioterrorism
9. Iterative reconstruction techniques reduce radiation dose for pediatric brain CT
10. New technique tracks proteins in single HIV particle
11. Ground breaking technique offers DNA Sat Nav direct to your ancestors home 1,000 years ago
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
'Grass-in-the-ear' technique sets new trend in chimp etiquette
(Date:11/15/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Bioinformatics ... ... The global bioinformatics market is projected ... in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 21.1% during the forecast ... by the growing demand for nucleic acid and protein sequencing, increasing ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics ... as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during the ... Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... growth in each of the following categories: net square feet ... of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... , June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, ... technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and ... prisons involved, it has secured the final acceptance ... facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, ... facilities to be installed by October, 2016. MAS ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)...  The Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh ... only pure life sciences investment firm, today ... succession plan developed by the Nominating and Governance Committee ... (Jim) F. Jordan is selected to serve as ... Manzetti , who is elected to the position of ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... SAN DIEGO, Dec. 8, 2016  OncoSec Medical ... company developing DNA-based intratumoral cancer immunotherapies, today announced ... "We are delivering on our ... melanoma with ImmunoPulse® IL-12. We are pleased with ... melanoma combination trial, and we are focused on ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016  Biotheranostics today announced that new data ... Breast Cancer Index (BCI) in identifying which patients ... at-risk for disease recurrence and might benefit from ... studies advancing the understanding of the value of ... and inform decisions related to patient treatment. These ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... to control cells — optogenetics — is key to exciting advances in the ... art, spatially patterned light projected via free-space optics stimulates small, transparent organisms and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: