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:2/27/2017)... WASHINGTON , Feb. 27, 2017   Strategic ... fund, today announced it has led a $3.5 million investment ... collaboration platform. Strategic Cyber Ventures is DC based and ... and Hank Thomas . Ron Gula , ... Tech Ventures, also participated in this series A round ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017  EyeLock LLC, a leader ... its elite iris biometric solution on the latest ... LTE at Mobile World Congress 2017 (February ... Booth in Hall 3, Stand 3E10. ... Qualcomm Haven™ security platform—a combination of hardware, ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. 22, 2017 ... Family of Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, Signature ... research study that will apply the power of IBM ... living and health centers. By analyzing data streaming from ... insights into physical and environmental conditions, and obtain deeper ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... , ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... material that exhibits both viscous and elastic characteristics when deformed, which is identical ... exhibits properties to gently absorb compressive forces and return to its natural state ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... MILFORD, Mass. , March 23, 2017 ... leading partner to global in vitro diagnostics ... launch of the industry,s first multiplexed ... inherited disease testing by next-generation sequencing ... materials were developed with input from industry ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- Kineta, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on ... today announced the discovery and characterization of several ... interferon response factor 3 (IRF3) via RIG-I like ... in a murine colon carcinoma mouse model.  Furthermore, ... regression to initial drug treatment were resistant to ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... In today,s pre-market research, Stock-Callers.com ... Biotech industry: Sangamo Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SGMO), Eyegate Pharmaceuticals ... and Regulus Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: RGLS ). ... its rating on Pharmaceuticals/Biotechnology to "Overweight" from "Market Weight." Learn more ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: