Manipulation complexity in primates coevolved with brain size and terrestriality

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Heldstab , S A , Kosonen , Z K , Koski , S E , Burkart , J M , van Schaik , C P & Isler , K 2016 , ' Manipulation complexity in primates coevolved with brain size and terrestriality ' , Scientific Reports , vol. 6 , 24528 . https://doi.org/10.1038/srep24528

Title: Manipulation complexity in primates coevolved with brain size and terrestriality
Author: Heldstab, Sandra A.; Kosonen, Zaida K.; Koski, Sonja E.; Burkart, Judith M.; van Schaik, Carel P.; Isler, Karin
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research (2010-2017)
Date: 2016-04-14
Language: eng
Number of pages: 9
Belongs to series: Scientific Reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/162545
Abstract: Humans occupy by far the most complex foraging niche of all mammals, built around sophisticated technology, and at the same time exhibit unusually large brains. To examine the evolutionary processes underlying these features, we investigated how manipulation complexity is related to brain size, cognitive test performance, terrestriality, and diet quality in a sample of 36 non-human primate species. We categorized manipulation bouts in food-related contexts into unimanual and bimanual actions, and asynchronous or synchronous hand and finger use, and established levels of manipulative complexity using Guttman scaling. Manipulation categories followed a cumulative ranking. They were particularly high in species that use cognitively challenging food acquisition techniques, such as extractive foraging and tool use. Manipulation complexity was also consistently positively correlated with brain size and cognitive test performance. Terrestriality had a positive effect on this relationship, but diet quality did not affect it. Unlike a previous study on carnivores, we found that, among primates, brain size and complex manipulations to acquire food underwent correlated evolution, which may have been influenced by terrestriality. Accordingly, our results support the idea of an evolutionary feedback loop between manipulation complexity and cognition in the human lineage, which may have been enhanced by increasingly terrestrial habits.
Subject: TOOL-USE
SENSORIMOTOR INTELLIGENCE
BEHAVIORAL LATERALITY
NONHUMAN-PRIMATES
WILD CHIMPANZEES
CEBUS-APELLA
GREAT APES
EVOLUTION
HAND
MONKEYS
119 Other natural sciences
5144 Social psychology
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