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J Comp Psychol. 2005 Nov;119(4):394-403.

How prosimian primates represent tools: experiments with two lemur species (Eulemur fulvus and Lemur catta).

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Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


The authors examined how 2 lemur species (Eulemur fulvus and Lemur catta) reason about tools. Experiment 1 allowed subjects to use 1 of 2 canes to retrieve an inaccessible food reward. Lemurs learned to solve this problem as quickly as other primates. Experiment 2 then presented subjects with novel tools differing from the originals along one featural dimension. Subjects attended more to tools' sizes than to their colors and made no distinction between tools' shapes and textures. Experiments 3 and 4 presented problems in which some of the tools' orientations had to be modified relative to the food. Subjects performed well on these problems, sometimes modifying the position of the tool. These results are discussed in light of the performance of other primates on this task.

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