Washington U in St. Louis2014-07-10 1:54 PM

Seasonality, extractive foraging and the evolution of primate sensorimotor intelligence


The parallel evolution of increased sensorimotor intelligence in humans and capuchins has been linked to the cognitive and manual demands of seasonal extractive faunivory. This hypothesis is attractive on theoretical grounds, but it has eluded widespread acceptance due to lack of empirical data. For instance, the effects of seasonality on the extractive foraging behaviors of capuchins are largely unknown. Here we report foraging observations on four groups of wild capuchins (Cebus capucinus) inhabiting a seasonally dry tropical forest. We also measured intra-annual variation in temperature, rainfall, and food abundance. We found that the exploitation of embedded or mechanically protected invertebrates was concentrated during periods of fruit scarcity. Such a pattern suggests that embedded insects are best characterized as a fallback food for capuchins. We discuss the implications of seasonal extractive faunivory for the evolution of sensorimotor intelligence (SMI) in capuchins and hominins and suggest that the suite of features associated with SMI, including increased manual dexterity, tool use, and innovative problem solving are cognitive adaptations among frugivores that fall back seasonally on extractable foods. The selective pressures acting on SMI are predicted to be strongest among primates living in the most seasonal environments. This model is proffered to explain the differences in tool use between capuchin lineages, and SMI as an adaptation to extractive foraging is suggested to play an important role in hominin evolution.

Full Article:





Washington U in St. Louis

0 Following 0 Fans 0 Projects 9 Articles


AbstractNon-sedentary work configurations, which encourage standing rather than sitting in the course of work, are becoming increasingly prevalent in o

Read More

SignificanceThe assessment of the paleobiology and morphological affinities of the Neandertals and other Late Pleistocene archaic humans is central to

Read More

Highlights•Individuals with severe episodic amnesia, e.g., KC, retain many kinds of temporal consciousness.•KC and others with episodic amnesia grasp t

Read More

AbstractImportance  Although autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is known to be heritable, patterns of inheritance of subclinical autistic traits in nonclin

Read More

AbstractThe parallel evolution of increased sensorimotor intelligence in humans and capuchins has been linked to the cognitive and manual demands of se

Read More

AbstractA current controversy is whether patients with sepsis progress to an immunosuppressed state. We hypothesized that reactivation of latent viruse

Read More

AbstractThe Federal Reserve injected unprecedented liquidity into banks during the crisis using the discount window and Term Auction Facility. We exami

Read More

Therapeutic food interventions have reduced mortality in children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM), but incomplete restoration of healthy growth re

Read More

Highlights•Structure of Ebola virus VP24 bound to the C terminus of karyopherin alpha 5 (KPNA5)•VP24 binds a unique nonclassical NLS binding site in KP

Read More