||A group of brown lemurs was presented with one or two baited food-boxes requiring a specific type of motor response in order to be opened. Subsequently, four groups containing different combinations of experienced individuals from the original group and naive individuals were tested. Solutions to the problem and access to the food were recorded and considered in relation to social factors. In the original group, two adult males learned to open the boxes, with one male increasingly preventing the other from approaching. In the second group, with the subordinate male and certain females removed, the dominant male tolerated successful performances by a juvenile female. Group 3 consisted of three passive female participants from the original group and a naive female; one of the three original females now became the sole box-opener. The introduction of the subordinate male from the original group into the all-female group led to a sharing of box-opening by this subject and the skilled female. In the final group, intense aggression toward the skilled female by a new, naive adult male resulted in two previously passive females succeeding on some occasions. In lemurs, at least some `scroungers' appear able to learn to perform a new act when the social context permits.