, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 23-32

Cooperative Problem Solving by Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus)

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Abstract

A captive pair of subadult male orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) performed a cooperative task without training. Both partners had to pull a handle simultaneously in order for each to get food. They also learned the importance of the partner at the apparatus to make a successful response. The requirements of the cooperative task appear to have been understood by the orangutans, much like chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the same situation. In contrast, capuchins (Cebus apella) succeeded in the cooperative task with a limited understanding of the requirement of the task and without taking into account the partner's role. These results gives further support to the hypothesis of a proximity of cognitive processes between chimpanzees and orangutans (in contrast to monkeys) though orangutans have not been seen to hunt cooperatively in the wild.