, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 182–194 | Cite as

Comparison of object manipulation among 74 species of non-human primates

  • Takashi Torigoe


Seventy-four primates species (24 genera of six families) were presented with a nylon rope and a wooden cube, and their subsequent manipulations were recorded in detail. Five hundreds and six manipulation patterns were distinguished on the basis of the actions performed, body-parts used and relations to other objects. Inter-specific comparisons revealed three groups: (1) lemurs, marmosets, spider monkeys and leaf-eaters; (2) Old World monkeys except leaf-eaters; and (3) cebus monkeys and apes. The first group had the smallest repertoire of manipulations, in which only a few types of actions and body-parts were involved. The second and third groups had more varied modes of manipulation. Actions such as Roll, Rub and Slide, and use of fingers characterized these groups. Except for the lesser ape, their manipulations were frequently related with other objects. Moreover, actions such as Drape, Drop, Strike, Swing and Throw were typical of the third group. The factors producing such inter-specific differences in manipulations and the relations to tool use are discussed.

Key Words

Object manipulation Inter-specific comparison Phylogency Tool use 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abordo, E., 1976. The learning skills of gibbons. In:Gibbon and Siamang, Vol. 4,D. M. Rumbaugh (ed.), Karger, Basel, pp. 106–134.Google Scholar
  2. Reck, B., 1980.Animal Tool Behavior. Garland STPM Press, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Candland, D. K. &C. N. Johnson, 1978. Object-play: test of a categorized model by the genesis of object-play inMacaca fuscata. In:Social Play in Primates,E. O. Smith (ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 259–296.Google Scholar
  4. Chevalier-Skolnikoff, S., B. M. F. Galdikas &A. Z. Skolnikoff, 1982. The adaptive significance of higher intelligence in wild orangutan: a preliminary report.J. Human Evol., 11: 639–652.Google Scholar
  5. Connolly, K. &J. Elliott, 1972. The evolution and ontogeny of hand function. In:Ethological Studies of Child Behaviour,N. Blurton Jones (ed.), Cambridge Univ. Press, London, pp. 329–383.Google Scholar
  6. Deriagina, M., 1982. Note on the manipulatory activity of apes.J. Human Evol., 11: 171–172.Google Scholar
  7. Hayashi, C., 1952. On the prediction of phenomena from quantitative data and the quantification of qualitative data from the mathematico-statistical point of view.Annals Inst. Statistic. Mathematics, 3: 69–98.Google Scholar
  8. Itani, J., 1957. On the acquisition and propagation of a new food habit in the natural group of the Japanese monkey at Takasaki-yama.Primates, 1: 84–98.Google Scholar
  9. Izawa, K. &A. Mizuno, 1977. Palm-fruit cracking behavior of wild black-capped capuchin (Cebus apella).Primates, 18: 773–792.Google Scholar
  10. Jordan, C., 1982. Object manipulation and tool-use in captive pygmy chimpanzee (Pan paniscus).J. Human Evol., 11: 35–39.Google Scholar
  11. Kawai, M., 1965. Newly-acquired pre-cultural behavior of the natural troop of Japanese monkeys on Koshima islet.Primates, 6: 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lethmate, J., 1979. Instrumental behaviour of zoo orang-utans.J. Human Evol., 8: 741–744.Google Scholar
  13. Mason, W. A., H. F. Harlow &R. R. Rueping, 1959. The development of manipulatory responsiveness in the infant rhesus monkey.J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol., 52: 555–558.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Menzel, E. W., Jr., 1966. Responsiveness to objects in free-ranging Japanese monkeys.Behaviour, 26: 130–150.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Napier, J., 1961. Prehensility and opposability in the hands of primates.Symp. Zool. Soc. Lond., 5: 115–132.Google Scholar
  16. Parker, C. E., 1973. Manipulatory behavior and responsiveness. In:Gibbon and Siamang, Vol. 2,D. M. Rumbaugh (ed.), Karger, Basel, pp. 185–207.Google Scholar
  17. ————, 1974a. Behavioral diversity in ten species of nonhuman primates.J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol., 87: 930–937.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. ————, 1974b. The antecedents of man the manipulator.J. Human Evol., 3: 493–500.Google Scholar
  19. ————, 1978. Opportunism and the rise of intelligence.J. Human Evol., 7: 597–608.Google Scholar
  20. Parker, S. T. &K. R. Gibson, 1977. Object manipulation, tool use and sensorimotor intelligence as feeding adaptation in cebus monkey and great ape.J. Human Evol., 6: 623–641.Google Scholar
  21. ———— &K. R. Gibson, 1979. A developmental model for the evolution of language and intelligence in early hominids.Behav. Brain Sci., 2: 367–408.Google Scholar
  22. Sugiyama, Y. &J. Koman, 1979. Tool-using and -making behavior in wild chimpanzee at Bossou, Guinea.Primates, 20: 513–524.Google Scholar
  23. Vauclair, J. &K. A. Bard, 1983. Development of manipulations with objects in ape and human infants.J. Human Evol., 12: 631–645.Google Scholar
  24. Wilson, E. O., 1975.Sociobiology. Belknap Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takashi Torigoe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Faculty of EducationHiroshima UniversityHiroshimaJapan

Personalised recommendations