Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Cooperative problem solving in giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) and Asian small-clawed otters (Aonyx cinerea)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Author(s)

Martin Schmelz, Shona Duguid, Manuel Bohn, Christoph Johannes Voelter

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Cooperative problem solving has gained a lot of attention over the past two decades but the range of species studied is still small. This limits the possibility of understanding the evolution of the socio-cognitive underpinnings of cooperation. Lutrinae show significant variations in socio-ecology but their cognitive abilities are not well studied. In the first experimental study of otter social cognition, we presented two species - giant otters and Asian small-clawed otters - with a cooperative problem-solving task. The loose string task requires two individuals to simultaneously pull on either end of a rope in order to access food. This task has been used with a larger number of species (for the most part primates and birds) and thus allows for wider cross species comparison. We found no differences in performance between species. Both giant otters and Asian small-clawed otters were able to solve the task successfully when the coordination requirements were minimal. However, when the temporal coordination demands were increased, performance decreased either due to a lack of understanding of the role of a partner or due to difficulty inhibiting action. In conclusion, two species of otters show some ability to cooperate, quite similar to most other species presented with the same task. However, to draw further conclusions and more nuanced comparisons between the two otter species further studies with varied methodologies will be necessary.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Cognition
VolumeFirst Online
Early online date24 Aug 2017
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2017

    Research areas

  • Lutrinae, Social Cognition, Cooperation, Loose string task, Giant otter, Asian small-clawed otter

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Information seeking about tool properties in great apes

    Bohn, M., Allritz, M., Call, J. & Voelter, C. J. 7 Sep 2017 In : Scientific Reports. 7, 10923

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Great apes and children infer causal relations from patterns of variation and covariation

    Voelter, C. J., Sentís, I. & Call, J. Oct 2016 In : Cognition. 155, p. 30-43 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Social manipulation in nonhuman primates: cognitive and motivational determinants

    Voelter, C. J., Rossano, F. & Call, J. 14 Sep 2016 In : Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  4. From exploitation to cooperation: social tool use in orang-utan mother-offspring dyads

    Voelter, C. J., Rossano, F. & Call, J. Feb 2015 In : Animal Behaviour. 100, p. 126-134 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. What's in a voice? Dolphins do not use voice cues for individual recognition

    Sayigh, L., Wells, R. & Janik, V. M. Nov 2017 In : Animal Cognition. 20, 6, p. 1067-1079

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Great ape gestures. Intentional communication with a rich set of innate signals

    Byrne, R. W., Cartmill, E., Genty, E., Graham, K. E., Hobaiter, C. L. & Tanner, J. Jul 2017 In : Animal Cognition. 20, 4, p. 755-769

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Conservatism and "copy-if-better" in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

    van Leeuwen, E. J. C. & Call, J. May 2017 In : Animal Cognition. 20, 3, p. 575-579 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Does social environment influence learning ability in a family-living lizard?

    Riley, J. L., Noble, D. W. A., Byrne, R. W. & Whiting, M. J. May 2017 In : Animal Cognition. 20, 3, p. 449-458

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Animal Cognition (Journal)

    Healy, S. D. (Member of editorial board)
    2015 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

  2. Animal Cognition (Journal)

    Janik, V. (Member of editorial board)
    2004 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

ID: 250912633