Navigation Links
Primates take weather into account when searching for fruits

New findings reported this week reveal that at least some primates can use their stored knowledge of recent weather as a tool for guiding their foraging behavior when searching for ripening fruit. The work, which potentially informs our understanding of how cognitive skills developed in humans and other primates, is reported by Karline Janmaat, Richard Byrne, and Klaus Zuberbühler of the University of St. Andrews in the June 20th issue of Current Biology.

The question of why primates, and especially humans, have more strongly developed cognitive skills than other mammals has a long history in science. The most widely accepted notion has been that primates' superior cognitive abilities have evolved in the social realm. Many primate species live in complex societies, and, the argument goes, this favored the evolution of especially developed social skills. Although there is much empirical evidence in favor of the social-intelligence hypothesis, very little work has been conducted to address its alternative, the idea that primate cognition has evolved to deal with problems of an ecological nature, such as foraging for food.

With their new work, the researchers sought to address this anomalous gap. By following a group of wild gray-cheeked mangabeys from dawn to dusk over 210 days in their natural rainforest habitat of Kibale Forest, Uganda, the scientists obtained an almost complete record of their foraging decisions in relation to their preferred food, figs. The data showed that the monkeys were more likely to revisit fig trees (in which they had found fruit before) after a period of warm and sunny days than after a period of cold and cloudy days. Temperature and solar radiation are known to accelerate maturation of fruits and insect larvae inside them. The researchers were able to show that past weather conditions--as opposed to sensory cues such as the smell of ripe fruit--accounted for the behavioral trend they observed.

These findings are co nsistent with the idea that monkeys make foraging decisions on the basis of episodic (or "event-based") memories of whether or not a tree previously carried fruit, combined with knowledge of recent and present weather conditions and a more generalized understanding of the relationship between temperature and solar radiation and the maturation rate of fruit and insect larvae. The findings are also consistent with the idea that the evolution of primate cognitive skills has proceeded, at least in part, as a result of ecological challenges associated with foraging for intermittently available food such as ripening fruit.

*For expert commentary on this work, be sure to see the related Dispatch in this issue of Current Biology from Dr. Michael Platt: "Animal Cognition: Monkey Meteorology."


'"/>

Source:Cell Press


Related biology news :

1. Transplantation Of Monkey Embryonic Stem Cells Reverses Parkinson Disease In Primates
2. Primates on the brink
3. Primates harvest bee nests in Ugandan reserve
4. Shift of weather patterns necessitates rethinking of reforestation methods
5. Scientists to track impact of Asian dust and pollution on clouds, weather, climate change
6. New book expands biological classifications to account for alien life
7. Complex gene interactions account for autism risk
8. Hepatitis B accounts for 40 percent of missing Asian women
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/21/2016)... VANCOUVER, British Columbia , June 21, 2016 ... been appointed to the new role of principal ... has been named the director of customer development. ... , NuData,s chief technical officer. The moves reflect ... development teams in response to high customer demand ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... -- Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction ... to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016 The Department of Transport Management ... 44 million US Dollar project, for the , ... Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors ... Decatur was selected for the most compliant and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader in clinical research patient ... and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, Mosio revisits the hurdle ... and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of how patients receive and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as ... the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship ... and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network ... Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is ... projects are designed, built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Andrew ... http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 Published recently in ... journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz , ... cancer care is placing an increasing burden on ... biologic therapies. With the patents on many biologics ...
Breaking Biology Technology: