, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 643-651

Pestle use and modification by tufted capuchins (Cebus apella)

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Abstract

We examined the use and modification of pestles by tufted capuchins (Cebus apella). In each of two experiments we presented 18 subjects with an apparatus that held sugarcane along with materials that the animals could use as tools. In Experiment 1 we presented the subjects with sticks, and in Experiment 2 we presented them with sticks, stones, paper towels, and food biscuits. Seven subjects used sticks as pestles to break down fiber to and squeeze sap from sugarcane in Experiment 1. Five of them modified sticks for this purpose. In Experiment 2, 10 animals used pestles and sponges, combined tools, and used pestles to mix together different kinds of food. These results provide further evidence of functional convergence for the use and modification of tools byCebus andPan and are consistent with the view that extractive foraging is associated with the tool-using and toolmaking behavior of primates.