Abstract # 133:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2011 10:00 AM-10:15 AM: Session 18 (Meeting Room 410) Oral Presentation


INNOVATION, IMITATION AND INSTRUCTION: LEARNING PROCESSES USED BY A JUVENILE SIAMANG (SYMPHALANGUS SYNDACTYLUS) AT THE EL PASO ZOO

F. G. McCrossin
Las Cruces High School, 1755 Royal Drive, Las Cruces , NM 88011, USA
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Active teaching has been observed in great apes but has not been previously described in hylobatids. A family of three siamangs (father, mother and a female offspring) was observed at the El Paso Zoo for more than 50 hours over a three year period following the birth of the infant. Coinciding with the birth of the infant, the adults began habitually using logs lying across the moat of their enclosure as a latrine. The adult siamangs were not subsequently observed to urinate and defecate anywhere else in the enclosure. At 26 months of age, the juvenile began following her parents to the latrine and observed them using it. When she was 37 months old, the male was observed dragging the juvenile to the latrine and directing silent bared teeth at her until she successfully used it. Two weeks later she appeared to attempt to use the latrine again but, despite the fact that her mother joined her at the latrine, she was not successful. However, 30 minutes later she was observed to approach her father, grab his throat sac, and be led by him to the latrine, which they both used. One month later, the juvenile was observed using the latrine without any parental assistance or involvement. This study is the first documentation of latrine use in siamangs and of active teaching in lesser apes.