International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 643–651 | Cite as

Pestle use and modification by tufted capuchins (Cebus apella)

  • Gregory Charles Westergaard
  • Jeremy A. Greene
  • Mindy Ann Babitz
  • Stephen J. Suomi


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.

Key Words

capuchin Cebus chimpanzee mortar and pestle Pan tool-use 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory Charles Westergaard
    • 1
  • Jeremy A. Greene
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mindy Ann Babitz
    • 1
    • 3
  • Stephen J. Suomi
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Comparative EthologyNational Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentPoolesville
  2. 2.Departments of Biology and AnthropologyHarvard UniversityCambridge
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesville

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