, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 677-689

Food sharing among captive gibbons (Hylobates lar)

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Abstract

A captive family group of gibbons engages in food sharing during consistently patterned sequences of behaviors in which begging gestures are employed. The predominant occurrence of the behavior involves the juvenile female begging from her older, adult sister who acted as her “surrogate mother”. An examination of the variables potentially affecting the behavior, such as hunger, the availability and accessibility of preferred foods, the inability to forage individually, and the social relationships between members of the family, indicates that food sharing may assist the young in acquiring appropriate food habits, supplement their foraging capabilities, and may serve to reinforce the social bonds between adult and immature members of the family group.