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Author Boogert, N.J.; Reader, S.M.; Hoppitt, W.; Laland, K.N.
Title The origin and spread of innovations in starlings Type Journal Article
Year 2008 Publication Animal Behaviour Abbreviated Journal Anim. Behav.
Volume 75 Issue 4 Pages 1509-1518
Keywords diffusion dynamics; dominance; foraging; group; innovation; neophobia; social learning; social network; starling; Sturnus vulgaris
Abstract There are numerous reports of novel learned behaviour patterns in animal populations, yet the factors influencing the invention and spread of these innovations remain poorly understood. Here we investigated to what extent the pattern of spread of innovations in captive groups of starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, could be predicted by knowledge of individual and social group variables, including association patterns, social rank orders, measures of neophobia and asocial learning performance. We presented small groups of starlings with a series of novel extractive foraging tasks and recorded the latency for each bird to contact and solve each task, as well as the orders of contacting and solving. We then explored which variables best predicted the observed diffusion patterns. Object neophobia and social rank measures characterized who was the first of the group to contact the novel foraging tasks, and the subsequent spread of contacting tasks was associated with latency to feed in a novel environment. Asocial learning performance, measured in isolation, predicted who was the first solver of the novel foraging tasks in each group. Association patterns did not predict the spread of solving. Contact latency and solving duration were negatively correlated, consistent with social learning underlying the spread of solving. Our findings indicate that we can improve our understanding of the diffusion dynamics of innovations in animal groups by investigating group-dependent and individual variables in combination. We introduce novel methods for exploring predictors of the origin and spread of behavioural innovations that could be widely applied.
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ISSN 0003-3472 ISBN Medium
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Notes Approved (up) no
Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6036
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