LOOK SMART

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild News - SOURCE Cur­rent Bi­ol­ogy LINK https://bit.ly/2HwczgW

Be­ing clever is an ad­van­tage in life. But for ring-tailed le­murs, it’s also ad­van­ta­geous to be seen to be clever.

New re­search has shown that le­murs that worked out how to ex­tract food hid­den in ap­pa­ra­tus re­ceived so­cial favours from oth­ers that had watched them do it.

“I was quite im­pressed that the fre­quently ob­served le­murs re­ceived more af­fil­ia­tive be­hav­iours, such as groom­ing, with­out ad­just­ing their own so­cial be­hav­iour,” says Ipek Ku­lahci of Ire­land’s Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Cork.

“In most pri­mate species, groom­ing tends to be mu­tual; it re­lies on rec­i­proc­ity be­tween the groomer and the in­di­vid­ual be­ing groomed,” she adds. “So it’s a pretty strik­ing pat­tern that the fre­quently ob­served le­murs re­ceived lots of groom­ing with­out pro­vid­ing more groom­ing to oth­ers.”

In which case, what’s in it for the ob­servers? The bi­ol­o­gists found that, by ini­ti­at­ing so­cial con­tact, they are more likely to learn the task for them­selves.

Ring-tailed le­murs recog­nise in­tel­li­gence, and show ap­pre­ci­a­tion of it, in oth­ers.

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