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BonobosUnique in Mind, Brain, and Behavior$
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Brian Hare and Shinya Yamamoto

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198728511.001.0001

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Ecological variation in cognition: Insights from bonobos and chimpanzees

Ecological variation in cognition: Insights from bonobos and chimpanzees

Chapter:
(p.157) Chapter 11 Ecological variation in cognition: Insights from bonobos and chimpanzees
Source:
Bonobos
Author(s):

Alexandra G. Rosati

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198728511.003.0011

Bonobos and chimpanzees are closely related, yet they exhibit important differences in their wild socio-ecology. Whereas bonobos live in environments with less seasonal variation and more access to fallback foods, chimpanzees face more competition over spatially distributed, variable resources. This chapter argues that bonobo and chimpanzee cognition show psychological signatures of their divergent wild ecology. Current evidence shows that despite strong commonalities in many cognitive domains, apes express targeted differences in specific cognitive skills critical for wild foraging behaviours. In particular, bonobos exhibit less accurate spatial memory, reduced levels of patience and greater risk aversion than do chimpanzees. These results have implications for understanding the evolution of human cognition, as studies of apes are a critical tool for modelling the last common ancestor of humans with nonhuman apes. Linking comparative cognition to species’ natural foraging behaviour can begin to address the ultimate reason for why differences in cognition emerge across species. Les bonobos et les chimpanzés sont prochement liés, pourtant ils montrent d’importantes différences dans leur sociologie naturelle. Alors que les bonobos vivent dans des environnements avec peu de diversité de climat entre saisons et plus d’accès à des ressources de nourriture alternatives, les chimpanzés ménagent une compétition étalée spatialement et des ressources plus variées. Je soutiens que la cognition des chimpanzés et bonobos montre les signatures psychologiques de leur écologie naturelle divergente. Les témoignages courants montrent que, malgré les forts points communs dans en cognition, les grands singes expriment des différences au niveau de compétences cognitives importantes au butinage. En particulier, les bonobos démontrent une mémoire spatial moin précise, moin de patience, et plus d’aversion de risques que les chimpanzés. Ces résultats fournissent des signes dans l’étude de l’évolution de la cognition humaine. Les études des grands singe sont un outil d’importance majeure dans la modélisation du dernier ancêtre commun des humains et grands singes non-humains. Faire des liens cognitives comparatives entre le butinage des différentes espèces peut commencer à dévoiler les raisons pour les différences de cognition entre espèces.

Keywords:   comparative method, decision-making, ecological intelligence, foraging, natural history, risk, spatial memory, temporal discounting

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