Social Structure and Helping Behavior in Captive Elephants

Selective pressures on individual behavior serve to mold social structure and subsequent levels of cooperation in social species, including elephants. Adult Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants have complex social societies that differ markedly between the sexes. Elephant social structure and cooperative behavior may have evolved in part to prepare young elephants to […]

The effects of unequal reward distributions on cooperative problem solving by cottontop tamarins, Saguinus oedipus

Cooperation among nonhuman animals has been the topic of much theoretical and empirical research, but few studies have examined systematically the effects of various reward payoffs on cooperative behaviour. Here, we presented heterosexual pairs of cooperatively breeding cottontop tamarins with a cooperative problem-solving task. In a series of four experiments, we examined how the tamarins’ […]

Chimpanzees are more skilful in competitive than in cooperative cognitive tasks

In a series of four experiments, chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, were given two cognitive tasks, an object choice task and a discrimination task (based on location), each in the context of either cooperation or competition. In both tasks chimpanzees performed more skilfully when competing than when cooperating, with some evidence that competition with conspecifics was especially […]

Chimpanzee helping in collaborative and noncollaborative contexts

Chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, help others in a variety of contexts. Some researchers have claimed that this only occurs when food is not involved and the recipient actively solicits help. In the current study, however, we found that chimpanzees often helped conspecifics obtain food in a pulling task with no solicitation whatsoever, in a situation in […]

Social bonds predict future cooperation in male Barbary macaques, Macaca sylvanus

Social bonds have been construed as mental representations mediating social interactions among individuals. It is problematic, however, to differentiate this mechanism from others that assume more direct exchanges and interchanges of behaviour such as reciprocity, market effects or mutualism. We used naturally occurring shifts in rates and patterns of social interactions among male Barbary macaques […]

Understanding of human communicative motives in domestic dogs

Chimpanzees find it easier to locate food when a human prohibits them from going to a certain location than when she indicates that location helpfully. Human children, in contrast, use the cooperative gesture more readily. The question here was whether domestic dogs are more like chimpanzees, in this regard, or more like human children. In […]

United States Department of Agriculture: building bridges through innovative animal well-being initiatives

Animal well-being issues are addressed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through a variety of agencies and in various formats. Most farmers are good stewards of their animals and will raise them according to societal demands as supported by market choices. Management standards that are perceived to improve upon current practices are being […]

Social games between bonobos and humans: Evidence for shared intentionality?

Triadic social games are interesting from a cognitive perspective because they require a high degree of mutual social awareness. They consist of two agents incorporating an object in turn-taking sequences and require individuals to coordinate their attention to the task, the object, and to one another. Social games are observed commonly in domesticated dogs interacting […]

Dominant nestlings displaying female-like melanin coloration behave altruistically in the barn owl

When competing over parental resources, young animals may be typically selfish to the point of siblicide. This suggests that limited parental resources promote the evolution of sibling competition rather than altruistic or cooperative behaviours. In striking contrast, we show here that in 71% of experimental three-chick broods, nestling barn owls, Tyto alba, gave food to […]

Ecology rather than psychology explains co-occurrence of predation and border patrols in male chimpanzees

The intense arousal and excitement shown by adult male chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, during territorial attacks on other chimpanzees and predation upon monkeys suggest that similar psychological mechanisms may be involved. Specifically, it has been proposed that hunting behaviour in chimpanzees evolved from intraspecies aggression. Over 32 years, chimpanzees at Gombe National Park, Tanzania were significantly […]