Innovative problem-solving in a small, wild canid.

Petelle, Matthew B; Jacobs, Paul J; le Roux, Aliza (2022). Innovative problem-solving in a small, wild canid. (In Press). Animal cognition Springer 10.1007/s10071-022-01678-6

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Innovation - the ability to solve problems in a novel way - is not only associated with cognitive abilities and relative brain size, but also by noncognitive traits, such as personality and motivation. We used a novel foraging task with three access options to determine how neophobia, exploration, and persistence influence innovation in 12 habituated bat-eared foxes (Otocyon megalotis) in the Kalahari Desert. Bat-eared foxes offer a unique system to understand cognition as they have the smallest relative brain size of measured canids and a specialized, termite-based diet, yet have displayed foraging innovations. Interestingly, most of our individuals solved the task at least once and six individuals solved the task in every trial. Neophobia did not influence success on the first trial, but both exploration and persistence influenced success across all trials. Those individuals that solved the puzzle over multiple trials became faster over time, suggesting that they learned how to open the box more efficiently. We found some variation in the method to open the puzzle box with six individuals solving the puzzle using two methods and one individual using all three methods. This is the first study to show innovation in a novel foraging task in wild bat-eared foxes.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute > Animal Welfare Division
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Petelle, Matthew Brian

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

1435-9456

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

23 Aug 2022 11:18

Last Modified:

23 Aug 2022 11:25

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s10071-022-01678-6

PubMed ID:

35994141

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Bat-eared fox Innovation Neophobia Persistence Puzzle box

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/172257

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/172257

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