Abstract # 210:

Scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2009 11:00 AM-11:10 AM: Session 22 (Mission Bay Ballroom AB) Oral Presentation


SOCIAL INFLUENCE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF FOOD PROCESSING TECHNIQUES IN WILD WHITE-FACED CAPUCHIN MONKEYS (CEBUS CAPUCINUS) AT LOMAS BARBUDAL, COSTA RICA

S. Perry
University of California-Los Angeles, Dept of Anthropology and Behavior, Evolution and Culture Program, 375 Portola Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1553, USA
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Researchers of “culture” have long been interested in the role of social learning in establishing patterns of behavioral variation in wild animals, but very few studies examine this issue using a developmental approach. This multi-year study of wild capuchins (Cebus capucinus) at Lomas Barbudal, Costa Rica, demonstrates that (a) monkeys selectively observe models who are foraging on more difficult-to-process foods [Kruskal-Wallis, p=0.01], (b) when there are two equally efficient foraging techniques available, as is the case when foraging on Luehea candida fruits, foragers under 5 years of age [21 females, 27 males] eventually conform to the technique they most frequently have the opportunity to observe others performing [Poisson regression], and (c) the females [n=48, p=0.002, Fisher’s exact test), but not the males [n=55, p=0.2], adopted the maternal technique for Luehea processing significantly more often than expected by chance. Collectively, these results suggest that social influence may be an important determinant of the foraging techniques adopted by wild capuchins under some circumstances, despite the fact that these animals do not readily imitate. Funding: MPI-EVAN, NSF 0613226, Leakey Foundation, NGS.