Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Leaf Surface Roughness Elicits Leaf Swallowing Behavior in Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Bonobos (P-paniscus), but not in Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) or Orangutans (Pongo abelii)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

Claudia Menzel, Andrew Fowler, Claudio Tennie, Josep Call

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Researchers have described apparently self-medicative behaviors for a variety of nonhuman species including birds and primates. Wild chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas have been observed to swallow rough leaves without chewing, a behavior proposed to be self-medicative and to aid control of intestinal parasites. Researchers have hypothesized that the presence of hairs on the leaf surface elicits the behavior. We investigated the acquisition and the underlying mechanisms of leaf swallowing. We provided 42 captive great apes (24 chimpanzees, six bonobos, six gorillas, and six orangutans) with both rough-surfaced and hairless plants. None of the subjects had previously been observed to engage in leaf swallowing behavior and were therefore assumed na <ve. Two chimpanzees and one bonobo swallowed rough-surfaced leaves spontaneously without chewing them. In a social setup six more chimpanzees acquired the behavior. None of the gorillas or orangutans showed leaf swallowing. Because this behavior occurred in na <ve individuals, we conclude that it is part of the behavioral repertoire of chimpanzees and bonobos. Social learning is thus not strictly required for the acquisition of leaf swallowing, but it may still facilitate its expression. The fact that apes always chewed leaves of hairless control plants before swallowing, i.e., normal feeding behavior, indicates that the surface structure of leaves is indeed a determinant for initiating leaf swallowing in apes where it occurs.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-553
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

    Research areas

  • Culture, Great apes, Latent solution, Leaf swallowing, Self-medication, Social learning, SELF-MEDICATIVE BEHAVIOR, WILD CHIMPANZEES, MAHALE MOUNTAINS, MEDICINAL-PLANT, NATIONAL-PARK, INFECTION, TANZANIA, PERSPECTIVE, EVOLUTION, CULTURE

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Intuitive statistical inferences in chimpanzees and humans follow Weber‘s Law

    Eckert, J., Call, J., Hermes, J., Herrmann, E. & Rakoczy, H. 14 Jul 2018 In : Cognition. 180, p. 99-107 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. The social-cognitive basis of infants’ reference to absent entities

    Bohn, M., Zimmermann, L., Call, J. & Tomasello, M. 6 Apr 2018 In : Cognition. 177, p. 41-48 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Chimpanzees consider humans' psychological states when drawing statistical inferences

    Eckert, J., Rakoczy, H., Call, J., Herrmann, E. & Hanus, D. 18 Jun 2018 In : Current Biology. 28, 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Intuitive optics: what great apes infer from mirrors and shadows

    Völter, C. J. & Call, J. 2 May 2018 In : Animal Cognition. First Online, 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Primate social attention: species differences and effects of individual experience in humans, great apes, and macaques

    Kano, F., Shepherd, S. V., Hirata, S. & Call, J. 23 Feb 2018 In : PLoS One. 13, 2, 25 p., e0193283

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Impact of snare injuries on parasite prevalence in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

    Yersin, H., Asiimwe, C., Voordouw, M. J. & Zuberbühler, K. Feb 2017 In : International Journal of Primatology. 38, 1, p. 21-30 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Female bonds and kinship in forest guenons

    Candiotti, A., Coye, C., Ouattara, K., Petit, E. J., Vallet, D., Zuberbühler, K. & Lemasson, A. Apr 2015 In : International Journal of Primatology. 36, 2, p. 332-352

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Age-related differences in the use of the "moo" call in black howlers (Alouatta caraya)

    Teixeira Da Cunha, R. G. & Byrne, R. W. 1 Dec 2013 In : International Journal of Primatology. 34, 6, p. 1105-1121

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. International Journal of Primatology (Journal)

    Kate Arnold (Reviewer)
    2004 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

ID: 104081905