Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/22252
Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Elephant resource-use traditions
Authors: Fishlock, Vicki
Caldwell, Christine Anna
Lee, Phyllis C
Contact Email: phyllis.lee@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: elephant
social learning
traditions
cumulative culture
Issue Date: Mar-2016
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Fishlock V, Caldwell CA & Lee PC (2016) Elephant resource-use traditions, Animal Cognition, 19 (2), pp. 429-433.
Abstract: African elephants ( Loxodonta africana) use unusual and restricted habitats such as swampy clearings, montane outcrops and dry rivers for a variety of social and ecological reasons. Within these habitats elephants focus on very specific areas for resource exploitation, resulting in deep caves, large forest clearings and sand pits as well as long-established and highly demarcated routes for moving between resources. We review evidence for specific habitat exploitation in elephants and suggest that this represents socially learned cultural behaviour. Although elephants show high fidelity to precise locations over the very long term, these location preferences are explained neither by resource quality nor by accessibility. Acquiring techniques for exploiting specific resource sites requires observing conspecifics and practice, and is evidence for social learning. Elephants possess sophisticated cognitive capacities used to track relationships and resources over their long lifespans and they have an extended period of juvenile dependency as a result of the need to acquire this considerable social and ecological knowledge. Thus, elephant fidelity to particular sites results in traditional behaviour over generations, with the potential to weaken relationships between resource quality and site preferences. Illustrating the evidence for such powerful traditions in a species such as elephants contributes to understanding animal cognition in natural contexts.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/22252
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10071-015-0921-x
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: Psychology
Psychology
Psychology

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