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Evidence of social learning in black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bess Price

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Abstract

Although many studies have examined social learning capabilities in apes and monkeys, experiments involving prosimians remain largely absent. We investigated the potential for social learning in black-and-white ruffed lemurs using a two-action foraging task. Eight individuals were divided into two experimental groups and exposed to conspecifics using one of two techniques to access food. Subjects were then given access to the apparatus and their retrieval techniques were recorded and compared. All subjects made their first retrieval using the technique they observed being demonstrated, and there were significant differences between the two groups in their overall response patterns. These results suggest that prosimians are capable of social learning and that additional long-term field studies may reveal the presence of behavioural traditions similar to those found in other primates.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Stoinski TS, Drayton LA, Price EE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biology Letters

Year: 2011

Volume: 7

Issue: 3

Pages: 376-379

Print publication date: 23/06/2011

ISSN (print): 1744-9561

ISSN (electronic): 1744-957X

Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2010.1070

DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.1070


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