Primates

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 413–423 | Cite as

Stone handling by Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata): Implications for tool use of stone

  • Michael A. Huffman
  • Duane Quiatt
Article

Abstract

Stone-play, a newly innovated cultural behavior, has been observed among the free-ranging Arashiyama B troop Japanese macaques near Kyoto, Japan since 1979. Conditions in which the non-purposeful handling of stones might possibly give rise to tool behavior are discussed. The progression of this behavior is traced through three phases: transmission, tradition, and transformation. During the first two phases, through social learning, the behavior was established within the group as a regular item of their behavioral repertoire and was most frequently observed after eating provisioned grain. In the third phase, observations suggest a “faddish” shift in the practice of certain behavioral sub-types between 1984 and 1985. During this period young individuals increasingly began to carry stones away from the feeding station, mixing stone manipulation with forage-feeding activities in the forest. Observations suggest under such conditions, stone handling is likely to lead to the occasional use of stone as a tool. This conclusion probably can be applied to species other thanMacaca fuscata. Consideration of the eco-setting and social learning correlates of stone handling suggests how the instrumental use of stone might emerge from a tradition of non-instrumental manipulation.

Key Words

Japanese macaque Play Diet and behavior Tool behavior evolution Cultural transmission 

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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Huffman
    • 1
  • Duane Quiatt
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Human Evolution Studies, Faculty of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Colorado at DenverDenverUSA

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