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Mangalam -

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Non-human primate populations, other than responding appropriately to naturally occurring challenges, also need to cope with anthropogenic factors such as environmental pollution, resource depletion, and habitat destruction. Populations and individuals are likely to show considerable variations in food extraction abilities, with some populations and individuals more efficient than others at exploiting a set of resources. In this study, we examined among urban free-ranging bonnet macaques, Macaca radiata (a) local differences in food extraction abilities, (b) between-individual variation and within-individual consistency in problem-solving success and the underlying problem-solving characteristics, and (c) behavioral patterns associated with higher efficiency in food extraction. When presented with novel food extraction tasks, the urban macaques having more frequent exposure to novel physical objects in their surroundings, extracted food material from PET bottles and also solved another food extraction task (i.e., extracting an orange from a wire mesh box), more often than those living under more natural conditions. Adults solved the tasks more frequently than juveniles, and females more frequently than males. Both solution-technique and problem-solving characteristics varied across individuals but remained consistent within each individual across the successive presentations of PET bottles. The macaques that solved the tasks showed lesser within-individual variation in their food extraction behavior as compared to those that failed to solve the tasks. A few macaques appropriately modified their problem-solving behavior in accordance with the task requirements and solved the modified versions of the tasks without trial-and-error learning. These observations are ecologically relevant – they demonstrate considerable local differences in food extraction abilities, between-individual variation and within-individual consistency in food extraction techniques among free-ranging bonnet macaques, possibly affecting the species’ local adaptability and resilience to environmental changes.


This is an open access article licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution license.


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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