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Animal Innovation$
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Simon M. Reader and Kevin N. Laland

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198526223

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198526223.001.0001

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Experimental Studies of Innovation in the Guppy

Experimental Studies of Innovation in the Guppy

Chapter:
(p.155) Chapter 7 Experimental Studies of Innovation in the Guppy
Source:
Animal Innovation
Author(s):

Kevin N. Laland

Yfke Van Bergen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198526223.003.0007

This chapter summarizes the results of a comprehensive laboratory experimental investigation into innovation and social learning in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata), a small tropical freshwater fish endemic to South America and the Lesser Antilles. These experiments have clearly demonstrated that guppies are capable of social learning that novel-learned foraging behaviour can diffuse through a population and that social learning processes can mediate behavioural traditions. Variation in novel problem solving is best accounted for by state-dependent factors, such as sex, size, competitive ability, and hunger level. This chapter conclusively suggests that the explanatory hypotheses derived to account for individual differences in innovation in the guppy also explain variation in innovative behaviour in primates and other species. Experimental approaches to innovation, such as those described in this chapter, are a fruitful avenue for future research.

Keywords:   innovation, social learning, guppy, Poecilia reticulata, novel, problem solving, behaviour, primates

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