Differential individual access to and use of reaching tools in social groups of capuchin monkeys Cebus apella and human infants Homo sapiens

Flemming, T., M.; Rattermann, M.-Jo; Thompson, R., K.R.

Aquatic Mammals 32(4): 491-499


ISSN/ISBN: 0167-5427
Accession: 030933883

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The focus of much of comparative and developmental cognition has been on the individual as a solitary being whose behavior is isolated from the influence of social relationships. We report here results on access to and use of reaching tools by group-housed capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) and a cohort of human infants in a daycare setting. In both cases, a given individual's-monkey or child-access to their respective tools differed as a function of his or her social rank, but the probability of successful use of a tool by an individual did not. These results demonstrate that membership in a group may not only facilitate an individual's opportunity to discover the functional affordances of its physical environment but also inhibit its opportunities to express that knowledge.