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Nature

GORILLAS CAN LEARN CLEAN FOOD BY THEMSELVES BEFORE EATING THEM

Gorillas have the capacity to learn cleaning behaviors by themselves before eating them, according to a study on animal habits published in the specialized magazine PLoS ONE.

The work, done by researchers from the universities of Birmingham (United Kingdom), Tubingen (Germany) and Saint Andrews (United Kingdom), suggests that these primates are able to acquire this practice by themselves without the need to have seen it before in others.

The research questions recent interpretations that gorillas applied these behaviors primarily because they learned it from others.

Although the study points to the primate’s own ability, experts recognized that interaction and social learning can help increase the frequency of this behavior.

For the elaboration of the work, a group of captive gorillas was provided with dirty and clean apples at the Wolfgang Kohler Primate Research Center of the Leipzig Zoo, in Germany, in order to analyze their response.

After receiving the fruits, filled with sand, the primates reacted by cleaning the food in at least 75 percent of the tests.

The main author of the work, Damien Neadle, of the University of Birmingham, explained that, in three out of four gorillas, “at least one of the cleaning techniques employed was similar to that observed in freedom”.

“Given that these two groups (in captivity and in freedom) are culturally disconnected, the study suggests that social learning is not necessary for this practice to emerge,” said Neadle.

The researcher stressed that this research does not diminish the importance of knowledge acquisition through interaction, but rather “emphasizes” the role of individual development for the acquisition of this behavior in western lowland gorillas.

Neadle rejected the use of a binary consideration if it is cultural learning or not, since it can be propagated through social interaction, but also learned “spontaneously” by individuals. (December 2017, EFE/Practica Español)

News related (April 9, 2015):


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Question 1
La noticia trata…
A
de cómo reaccionan unos primates cuando encuentran comida.
B
de cómo se comportan los gorilas cuando su comida está sucia.
C
de la dieta de los principales primates.
Question 2
El estudio que realizaron esos científicos está relacionado con…
A
la etología.
B
la fisonomía de los primates.
C
la paleontología.
Question 3
Según este último estudio…
A
los gorilas son incapaces de limpiar los alimentos sin la ayuda de otros primates.
B
los gorilas pueden aprender de forma autónoma a limpiar los alimentos.
C
los gorilas imitan a otros primates para aprender cómo se limpian los alimentos.
Question 4
Este último estudio corrobora lo que se pensaba de los gorilas.
A
No se sabe.
B
Verdadero.
C
Falso.
Question 5
Según el estudio…
A
solo un tercio de los gorilas limpiaron la comida antes de comérsela.
B
más de la mitad de los gorilas limpiaron su comida por sí mismos.
C
menos de la mitad de los gorilas limpiaron su comida por sí mismos.
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