Do woodpecker finches acquire tool-use by social learning?

Citation
S. Tebbich et al., Do woodpecker finches acquire tool-use by social learning?, P ROY SOC B, 268(1482), 2001, pp. 2189-2193
Citations number
43
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Experimental Biology
Journal title
PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON SERIES B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
ISSN journal
0962-8452 → ACNP
Volume
268
Issue
1482
Year of publication
2001
Pages
2189 - 2193
Database
ISI
SICI code
0962-8452(20011107)268:1482<2189:DWFATB>2.0.ZU;2-9
Abstract
Tool-use is widespread among animals, but except in primates the developmen t of this behaviour is poorly known. Here, we report on the first experimen tal study to our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the acquisition of tool-use in a bird species. The woodpecker finch Cactospiza pallida, endemi c to the Galapagos Islands, is a famous textbook example of tool-use in ani mals. This species uses modified twigs or cactus spines to pry arthropods o ut of tree holes. Using nestlings and adult birds from the field, we tested experimentally whether woodpecker finches learn tool-use socially. We show that social learning is not essential for the development Of tool-use: all juveniles developed tool-use regardless of whether or not they had a tool- using model. However, we found that not all adult woodpecker finches used t ools in our experiments. These non-tool-using individuals also did not lear n this task by observing tool-using conspecifics. Our results suggest that tool-use behaviour depends on a very specific learning disposition that inv olves trial-and-error learning during a sensitive phase early in ontogeny.