The opening of milk bottles by birds: Evidence for accelerating learning rates, but against the wave-of-advance model of cultural transmission

  title={The opening of milk bottles by birds: Evidence for accelerating learning rates, but against the wave-of-advance model of cultural transmission},
  author={Louis Lefebvre},
  journal={Behavioural Processes},
  • L. Lefebvre
  • Published 1 May 1995
  • Business
  • Behavioural Processes

The origin and spread of innovations in starlings

Complex foraging behaviours in wild birds emerge from social learning and recombination of components

The results show that while tits can socially learn complex foraging behaviours, these may need to be scaffolded by rewarding each component, and show birds could recombine skills into more complex foraged behaviours, and naïve birds across both generations could learn the two-step trait.

Diffusion of foraging innovations in the guppy

A striking sex difference is found, with novel foraging information spreading at a significantly faster rate through subgroups of females than of males, and it is suggested that information may diffuse in a similar nonrandom or 'directed' manner through many natural populations of animals.

Feeding innovations and forebrain size in birds

The study confirms predicted trends linking opportunism, brain size and rate of structural evolution and suggests that innovation rate in the field may be a useful measure of behavioural plasticity.

The establishment and transmission of novel foraging techniques indicates a capacity for culture in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)

A two-option puzzle box task and open diffusion paradigms suggest that bumblebees, like mammals and birds, may have the capacity for culture and to sustain cultural variation.

Learning and Cultural Transmission in Chaffinch Song

Food cleaning in gorillas: Social learning is a possibility but not a necessity

It is concluded that social learning is unlikely to play a central role in the emergence of the food cleaning behavioural form in Western lowland gorillas; instead, placing a greater emphasis on individual learning of food cleaning’s behavioural form.

Using Models of Social Transmission to Examine the Spread of Longline Depredation Behavior among Sperm Whales in the Gulf of Alaska

How changes in human activities in the region have created a situation in which there is spatial-temporal overlap with foraging sperm whales, likely influencing when and how the behavior spread among the population is discussed.



Cultural transmission in pigeons is affected by the number of tutors and bystanders present

The results suggest that the spread of innovations within a population will be exponential, rather than sigmoidal as predicted by the contagion model: as the skill spreads, the rate of learning increases as a result of the dual effects of increased tutor number and reduced bystander number.

Imitation in Rats: Initial Responding and Transfer Evidence

Rats observed a conspecific demonstrator pushing a single manipulandum, a joystick, to the right or to the left for food reward before being given access to the joystick, for the first time, from a different orientation provide evidence that rats are capable of imitation.

Social learning : psychological and biological perspectives

The Importance of Social Interaction and Observation in the Acquisition of Communicative Competence: Possible Parallels Between Avian and Human Learning is examined.

Cultural transmission and evolution: a quantitative approach.

A mathematical theory of the non-genetic transmission of cultural traits is developed that provides a framework for future investigations in quantitative social and anthropological science and concludes that cultural transmission is an essential factor in the study of cultural change.

Avian Movement Imitation and a New Form of Mimicry: Tracing the Evolution of a Complex Form of Learning

Hierarchical relationships and phylogenetic patterns of occurrence suggest that imitative learning in birds may have evolved through the sequence: song/call learning → vocal mimicry → non-vocal mimicry→ movement imitation.

Genetic evidence for the spread of agriculture in Europe by demic diffusion

Findings support the hypothesis of Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza and invite further investigation into Renfrew's hypothesis on the origin of the Indo-European languages.

Birds, behavior, and anatomical evolution.

The hypothesis that in higher vertebrates, behavior, rather than environmental change, is the major driving force for evolution at the organismal level is advanced and predicts accelerated anatomical evolution in species composed of numerous mobile individuals with the dual capacity for behavioral innovation and social propagation of new habits.

Imitation, culture and cognition

  • C. Heyes
  • Psychology, Biology
    Animal Behaviour
  • 1993
It is argued that both imitation (learning about behaviour through nonspecific observation) and social learning can mediate social transmission of information, and that neither is likely to play an important role in supporting behavioural traditions or culture.

Ethology: The Mechanisms and Evolution of Behavior

This book develops this theme by looking first at traditional ethology to establish familiarity with the models which will be used to examine neural mechanisms, social behavior and species interactions, and finally the authors' own species.