Abstract # 46:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2012 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 9 (Gardenia) Poster Presentation


C. L. Buckmaster, S. A. Hyde, K. J. Parker and D. M. Lyons
Stanford University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science , Palo Alto, CA, USA
     We report that squirrel monkeys living undisturbed in home-cage social groups spontaneously engaged in tool behavior and used an enrichment object, a polyvinylchloride (PVC) cap, as a tool to contain water collected from a valve for drinking (n=3) and to contain food while eating (n=14). Monkeys transported a PVC cap (cap) to a water valve and manually fitted the cap over the valve so that water released into the cap. Monkeys then manually lifted the cap to their mouth and drank the water contained in it. The cap, with water in it, was often transported away from the valve and the water drunk at a different location. When containing food while eating, monkeys retrieved and transported a cap and piece of chow to a perch and dropped nibbled bits of chow from their mouth into the cap. The bits of chow were eaten by fingering it out and placing it directly into the mouth, or by manually tipping the cap so that the bits of chow fell directly into the mouth. The cap, with chow in it, was often manually transported to another location before the chow was eaten. This discovery is significant because it confirms that squirrel monkeys have the ability to use an object as a tool and this knowledge can guide future hypothesis-driven investigations of the cognitive capacities of squirrel monkeys.