Behavioural Processes 68(1):85-90

Response to novel food in infant chimpanzees: Do infants refer to mothers before ingesting food on their own?

Ari Ueno, Tetsuro Matsuzawa

Abstract

We investigated infant response toward novel food in captive chimpanzees under the condition in which they can explore such items freely together with their mother. Infants first approached novel foods rather than familiar ones when presented simultaneously. However, they did not ingest novel food immediately, but always sniff-licked it first. Infants tended to pay attention to their mothers before mouthing or ingesting novel foods themselves, but never did so with familiar ones. In response to the infant’s activity, mother chimpanzees were tolerant rather than actively interfering. Those results imply that chimpanzee infants respond to novel foods in a neophobic way and refer to their mother for some kind of cue before attempting to ingest them.

Keywords

Food repertoire, Neophobia, Social reference, Mother-infant, Chimpanzee

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Ueno A, Matsuzawa T (2005) Response to novel food in infant chimpanzees: Do infants refer to mothers before ingesting food on their own? Behavioural Processes 68(1):85-90