Females of the Apes - the best teachers


18/03/2010

Studying green monkeys in South Africa, the researchers found that the monkeys were trained better skills in those cases where they showed the female.

The scientists compared the learning simple skills opening the box. In one case the skill demonstrated dominant male and the second female monkeys.

They describe their findings in an article in a leading journal devoted to research in the field of biology Proceedings of the Royal Society.

Biologist Erica van de Waal (Erica van de Waal), the University of Neuchatel (University of Neuchatel) in Switzerland, and her team studied six neighboring groups of wild vervet monkeys in South African Reserve Loskop Dam Nature.

They gave the monkeys boxes of fruit in each box two doors were highlighted.

Scientists have blocked one of the doors, so there was only one way to solve the puzzle of opening the box and getting fruit.

For the three groups, the dominant male was selected as a "model" to demonstrate the correct sequence of actions, and for the other three groups "model" has been selected dominant female.

"Dominant male and female learned to open the box by trial and error" - explained Eric van de Waal - "When they have learned to open the door box, we gave them the opportunity to make 25 of demonstration."

After "demonstration phase", the probability that the other monkeys will learn to open the box was much more in the event that a demonstration of producing female.

"We found that the observers have paid much more attention to the female than the male," - said van de Waal - "It looks like this is the only factor affecting their social learning."

Observation of dominant females and learning from them, may be more appropriate for the monkeys. Females usually always stay with the group in which they were born, while males often go to other groups in search of females.

"Females are the basis of their social status higher than that of males, they are more aware of the sources of food in their habitat," - explained van de Waal.

She reported that these results have given scientists valuable data about the "evolution of traditions and culture in species living in stable groups, including humans."

"To our knowledge, this is the first experimental evidence of social learning primates obtained in the field. Experiments on social learning was conducted primarily in the laboratory, it is time to find out whether the match-results of laboratory and field studies." - Said van de Waal. Just tell us interesting news in detail.

Original: News.bbc.co.uk


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