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

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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."


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

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'Grass-in-the-ear' technique sets new trend in chimp etiquette
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