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J Comp Psychol. 2000 Sep;114(3):291-6.

Naive chimpanzees' (Pan troglodytes) observation of experienced conspecifics in a tool-using task.

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Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Inuyama, Aichi, Japan.


The authors investigated the occurrence of naive chimpanzees' (Pan troglodytes) spontaneous observation of experienced conspecifics during a tool-use task entailing honey fishing. The chimpanzees were presented with 20 kinds of "tools" of which 12 kinds were usable. Six pairs of naive and experienced chimpanzees were brought to this honey-fishing situation. A total of 40 observation episodes occurred between the naive and experienced groups, 34 of which were from naive toward experienced individuals. Naive chimpanzees never observed their partners after their own success but did so after their own failure or before their first attempts. In addition, there were 10 cases in which naive individuals used the left-over tools of the experienced ones. Two factors for the transmission of tool use were clearly evident in this study: (a) spontaneous observation of an appropriate behavioral sequence and (b) enhanced environmental cues made by skilled individuals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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