Orangutan leaf-carrying for nest-building: Toward unraveling cultural processes

TitleOrangutan leaf-carrying for nest-building: Toward unraveling cultural processes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsRusson AE, Handayani DP, Kuncoro P, Ferisa A
JournalAnimal Cognition
Volume10
Pagination189-202
Date PublishedApr
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1435-9448
Accession NumberISI:000246138500012
KeywordsBEHAVIOR, cultures, EVOLUTION, FOREST, INDONESIA, nesting, ORANGUTANS, PONGO-PYGMAEUS, PRIMATES, SUMATRAN ORANGUTANS, TOOL USE, WILD CHIMPANZEES
Abstract

We report an empirical study on leaf-carrying, a newly discovered nest-building technique that involves collecting nest materials before reaching the nest site. We assessed whether leaf-carrying by rehabilitant orangutans on Kaja Island, Central Kalimantan, owes to cultural influences. Findings derive from ca 600 h observational data on nesting skills and nesting associations in Kaja's 42 resident rehabilitants, which yielded 355 nests and 125 leaf-carrying cases by 34 rehabilitants. Regional contrasts with 14 other communities (7 rehabilitant, 7 wild) indicated cultural influences on leaf-carrying on Kaja. Association data showed exceptional social learning opportunities for leaf-carrying on Kaja, with residents taking differential advantage of these opportunities as a function of development, experience, and social position. Juvenile males with basic nesting skills were most influenced by social input. Most (27) leaf-carriers had probably learned leaf-carrying when caged and 7 probably learned it on Kaja. Social priming was probably the main impetus to leaf-carrying on Kaja, by simply prompting observers to copy when leaf-carrying associates collected nesting materials, what they collected, and where they used their collected materials. Implications concern acquisition processes and ontogenetic schedules that orchestrate sets of features-needs or interests, cognitive abilities, social preferences-which enable cultural transmission.

URL<Go to ISI>://000246138500012
Alternate JournalAnim. Cogn.