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Cultural variation in robust capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.)

Grant number: 18/01292-9
Support type:Research Grants - Young Investigators Grants
Duration: February 01, 2019 - January 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Animal Behavior
Principal Investigator:Tiago Falótico
Grantee:Tiago Falótico
Home Institution: Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades (EACH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Lucas Henriques Viscardi ; Maria Cátira Bortolini ; Mariana Dutra Fogaça ; Michele Pereira Verderane ; Tomos Sion Hopkins Proffitt
Associated scholarship(s):20/10412-8 - Field experiments to identify tool use variations in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus), BP.MS
20/04478-6 - Cultural variation in robust capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.) - TT3(2), BP.TT
19/10155-8 - Cultural variation in robust capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.) - TT3, BP.TT
19/00716-2 - Cultural variation in robust capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp), BP.JP


Culture was for a long time believed to be uniquely human. Across primates, culture is known to be present in several species, ranging from object tool use for foraging to social conventions. Chimpanzees have been long studied and there is a long catalogue of their cultural variations, showing that even when ecological and genetic variations are ruled out, they exhibit cultural behavioral variance maintained across generations by socially biased learning. Robust capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.) also present great behavioral variation, especially regarding tool-using behaviors, between and within species, but no comprehensive comparison between species and populations have been done so far. The "Cultural variation in robust capuchin monkeys" project has the objective to identify cultural variance on capuchin monkeys. We are going to compare 10 populations of robust capuchin monkeys, from two species (Sapajus libidinosus and S. xanthosternos). Differently from previous studies, we will have comparable behavioral and ecological data from all sites, ranging from indirect surveys and remote observation (camera-traps) to direct observation and field experiments. Finally, we will map genetic diversity across populations and species, an approach neglected in previous comparative works on capuchin behavior. In particular, we will target genes linked to manipulative and exploratory behaviors, to correlate with the tool use behavior and problem-solving skills. Together, the three variables - behavioral, ecological and genetic - will be used to compare species and populations, allowing us to produce the first broad cultural chart on robust capuchin monkeys. (AU)