Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Spontaneous emergence, imitation and spread of alternative foraging techniques among groups of vervet monkeys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Animal social learning has become a subject of broad interest, but demonstrations of bodily imitation in animals remain rare. Based on Voelkl and Huber's study of imitation by marmosets, we tested four groups of semi-captive vervet monkeys presented with food in modified film canisters (“aethipops’). One individual was trained to take the tops off canisters in each group and demonstrated five openings to them. In three groups these models used their mouth to remove the lid, but in one of the groups the model also spontaneously pulled ropes on a canister to open it. In the last group the model preferred to remove the lid with her hands. Following these spontaneous differentiations of foraging techniques in the models, we observed the techniques used by the other group members to open the canisters. We found that mouth opening was the most common technique overall, but the rope and hands methods were used significantly more in groups they were demonstrated in than in groups where they were not. Our results show bodily matching that is conventionally described as imitation. We discuss the relevance of these findings to discoveries about mirror neurons, and implications of the identity of the model for social transmission.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere47008
Number of pages7
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2012

    Research areas

  • Evolutionary biology, Birds, Chimpanzees Pan-Troglodytes, Culture, Animals, Mirror neurons, Mechanisms, Premotor Cortex

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Does culture shape hunting behavior in bonobos?

    Whiten, A., 1 Sep 2020, In : eLife. 9, 3 p., e62104.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

  2. Refining our understanding of the "elephant in the room"

    Whiten, A., 10 Aug 2020, In : The Behavioral and brain sciences. 43, p. e182

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. A unified account of culture should accommodate animal cultures

    Whiten, A., 28 May 2020, In : Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 43, e118.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

  4. Cultural evolution in animals

    Whiten, A., Nov 2019, In : Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. 50, p. 27-48

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Related by journal

  1. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Joanna Louise Kershaw (Reviewer)

    18 Mar 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  2. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Catharine Penelope Cross (Member of editorial board)

    1 Sep 2018 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  3. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Will Cresswell (Reviewer)

    23 May 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  4. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Barbara Dritschel (Member of editorial board)

    May 2018 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  5. PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Matt Carter (Reviewer)

    2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. Are in vitro and in silico approaches used appropriately for animal-based major depressive disorder research?

    Carvalho, C., Varela, S. A. M., Marques, T. A., Knight, A. & Vicente, L., 24 Jun 2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 6, 6 p., e0233954.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Artists on the edge of the world: an integrated approach to the study of Magdalenian engraved stone plaquettes from Jersey (Channel Islands)

    Bello, S. M., Blinkhorn, E., Needham, A., Bates, M., Duffy, S., Little, A., Pope, M., Scott, B., Shaw, A., Welch, M. D., Kinnaird, T., Millar, L., Robinson, R. & Conneller, C., 19 Aug 2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 8, 40 p., e0236875.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Drivers of the opioid crisis: An appraisal of financial conflicts of interest in clinical practice guideline panels at the peak of opioid prescribing

    Spithoff, S., Leece, P., Sullivan, F., Persaud, N., Belesiotis, P. & Steiner, L., 24 Jan 2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 1, 15 p., e0227045.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Passive acoustic methods for tracking the 3D movements of small cetaceans around marine structures

    Gillespie, D., Palmer, L., MacAulay, J., Sparling, C. & Hastie, G., 29 May 2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 5, 16 p., e0229058.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Potentially inappropriate prescriptions according to explicit and implicit criteria in patients with multimorbidity and polypharmacy. MULTIPAP: a cross-sectional study

    Lopez-Rodriguez, J. A., Rogero-Blanco, E., Aza-Pascual-Salcedo, M., Lopez-Verde, F., Pico-Soler, V., Leiva-Fernandez, F., Prados-Torres, J. D., Prados-Torres, A., Cura-González, I., MULTIPAP group & Azcoaga-Lorenzo, A., 12 Aug 2020, In : PLoS One. 15, 8, 20 p., e0237186.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 30926511

Top