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Science. 2006 Jul 14;313(5784):227-9.

Teaching in wild meerkats.

Author information

1
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK. jant2@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

Despite the obvious benefits of directed mechanisms that facilitate the efficient transfer of skills, there is little critical evidence for teaching in nonhuman animals. Using observational and experimental data, we show that wild meerkats (Suricata suricatta) teach pups prey-handling skills by providing them with opportunities to interact with live prey. In response to changing pup begging calls, helpers alter their prey-provisioning methods as pups grow older, thus accelerating learning without the use of complex cognition. The lack of evidence for teaching in species other than humans may reflect problems in producing unequivocal support for the occurrence of teaching, rather than the absence of teaching.

PMID:
16840701
DOI:
10.1126/science.1128727
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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