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Behavioural diversity of bonobo prey preference as a potential cultural trait


Samuni, Liran; Wegdell, Franziska; Surbeck, Martin (2020). Behavioural diversity of bonobo prey preference as a potential cultural trait. eLife, 9:e59191.

Abstract

The importance of cultural processes to behavioural diversity in our closest living relatives is central to revealing the evolutionary origins of human culture. However, the bonobo is often overlooked as a candidate model. Further, a prominent critique to many examples of proposed animal cultures is premature exclusion of environmental confounds known to shape behavioural phenotypes. We addressed these gaps by investigating variation in prey preference between neighbouring bonobo groups that associate and overlap space use. We find group preference for duiker or anomalure hunting otherwise unexplained by variation in spatial usage, seasonality, or hunting party size, composition, and cohesion. Our findings demonstrate that group-specific behaviours emerge independently of the local ecology, indicating that hunting techniques in bonobos may be culturally transmitted. The tolerant intergroup relations of bonobos offer an ideal context to explore drivers of behavioural phenotypes, the essential investigations for phylogenetic constructs of the evolutionary origins of culture.

Abstract

The importance of cultural processes to behavioural diversity in our closest living relatives is central to revealing the evolutionary origins of human culture. However, the bonobo is often overlooked as a candidate model. Further, a prominent critique to many examples of proposed animal cultures is premature exclusion of environmental confounds known to shape behavioural phenotypes. We addressed these gaps by investigating variation in prey preference between neighbouring bonobo groups that associate and overlap space use. We find group preference for duiker or anomalure hunting otherwise unexplained by variation in spatial usage, seasonality, or hunting party size, composition, and cohesion. Our findings demonstrate that group-specific behaviours emerge independently of the local ecology, indicating that hunting techniques in bonobos may be culturally transmitted. The tolerant intergroup relations of bonobos offer an ideal context to explore drivers of behavioural phenotypes, the essential investigations for phylogenetic constructs of the evolutionary origins of culture.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
890 Other literatures
410 Linguistics
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Neuroscience
Life Sciences > General Immunology and Microbiology
Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Language:English
Date:1 September 2020
Deposited On:20 Jan 2021 12:35
Last Modified:01 Feb 2021 16:25
Publisher:eLife Sciences Publications Ltd.
ISSN:2050-084X
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.59191
PubMed ID:32869740

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