cognition; social learning; cooperation; Machiavellian intelligence; evolution; vervet monkeys; field experiments; vervet monkey; Chlorocebus aethiops; social behaviour; animal cognition; social brain hypothesis; between-group competition; kin selection; tradition
Arseneau-Robar T. Jean M., Müller Eliane, Taucher Anouk L., van Schaik Carel P., Bshary Redouan, Willems Erik P. (2018), Male monkeys use punishment and coercion to de-escalate costly intergroup fights, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
, 285(1880), 20172323-20172323.
Borgeaud Christèle, Sosa Sebastian, Sueur Cédric, Bshary Redouan (2017), The influence of demographic variation on social network stability in wild vervet monkeys, in Animal Behaviour
, 134, 155-165.
Borgeaud Christèle, Schnider Alessandra, Krützen Michael, Bshary Redouan (2017), Female vervet monkeys fine-tune decisions on tolerance versus conflict in a communication network, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
, 284(1867), 20171922-20171922.
Arseneau-Robar T. Jean Marie, Taucher Anouk Lisa, Müller Eliane, van Schaik Carel, Bshary Redouan, Willems Erik P. (2016), Female monkeys use both the carrot and the stick to promote male participation in intergroup fights, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
, 283(1843), 20161817-20161817.
Borgeaud Christèle, Bshary Redouan (2015), Wild Vervet Monkeys Trade Tolerance and Specific Coalitionary Support for Grooming in Experimentally Induced Conflicts, in Current Biology
, 25(22), 3011-3016.
Tournier Emilie, Tournier Virginia, van de Waal Erica, Barrett Alan, Brown Leslie, Bshary Redouan (2014), Differences in Diet Between Six Neighbouring Groups of Vervet Monkeys, in ETHOLOGY
, 120(5), 471-482.
van de Waal Erica, Bshary Redouan, Whiten Andrew (2014), Wild vervet monkey infants acquire the food-processing variants of their mothers, in ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR
, 90, 41-45.
van de Waal Erica, Spinelli Martina, Bshary Redouan, Ros Albert Frank Huascar, Noe Ronald (2013), Negotiations over Grooming in Wild Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), in INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PRIMATOLOGY
, 34(6), 1153-1171.
van de Waal Erica, Borgeaud Christele, Whiten Andrew (2013), Potent Social Learning and Conformity Shape a Wild Primate's Foraging Decisions, in SCIENCE
, 340(6131), 483-485.
van de Waal E, Claidiere N, Whiten A (2013), Social learning and spread of alternative means of opening an artificial fruit in four groups of vervet monkeys, in ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR
, 85(1), 71-76.
Willems Erik P, Hellriegel Barbara, van Schaik Carel P (2013), The collective action problem in primate territory economics., in Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society
, 280(1759), 20130081-20130081.
Borgeaud Christele, van de Waal Erica, Bshary Redouan (2013), Third-Party Ranks Knowledge in Wild Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops pygerythrus), in PLOS ONE
, 8(3), 1-1.
Buchin K, Sijben S, Arseneau TJM, Willems E (2012), Detecting movement patterns using Brownian Bridges, in Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems, SIGS
, New York.
van de Waal Erica, Whiten Andrew (2012), Spontaneous emergence, imitation and spread of alternative foraging techniques among groups of vervet monkeys, in PLoS One
, 7(10), e47008.
The evolution of sociality has become a key research focus in evolutionary biology. One likely reason why so many evolutionary biologists find this question so interesting is that humans are highly social animals. In humans, success depends largely on an individual’s ability to learn from others, to tolerate and even to cooperate with unrelated individuals but also to take advantage of others without them realising. While our social abilities appear to be unmatched by other species, it is important to ask what selection pressures have caused them. It has been hypothesised that in social species, a prime challenge for successful survival and reproduction is competition with fellow group members over access to limited resources like food and mates. At the same time, group members can be important alliance partners in overcoming competitors, predators and neighbouring groups. Cooperation and conflict are thus the two opposing forces that affect virtually any decision, selecting for increased cognitive abilities that help individuals cope with the complexity of decision making in this dynamic social world. In particular, primatologists have studied the links between ecology, social organisation, and social intelligence. Despite great research efforts, however, conclusions remain limited by two main factors. First, field studies on primates have typically been observational and with few exceptions, limited to a small number of study groups. This has constrained our ability to generalise from the observed patterns. Second, very well designed laboratory experiments on cognitive abilities exist, yet it is difficult to predict the extent to which these mechanisms are used under natural conditions. The main reason for these two shortcomings is that field research on most primate species poses significant logistic challenges. However, such shortcomings can be overcome through larger scientific collaborations and by choosing appropriate model species. Our Sinergia grant application to study wild vervet monkeys will be based on large scale field experiments on social behaviour, where we plan to have at least ten study groups habituated to the presence of human observers and followed on a regular basis for basic social and ecological information. Sub-project A focuses on the monkeys’ ability to show flexible social behaviour adapted to particularities of a situation. Sub-project B investigates the animals’ ability to engage in collective action in between-group conflict, and the role of genetic relatedness and contextual factors on the decision to participate, as well as the consequences of success in between-group conflict. Sub-project C tests what mechanisms vervet monkeys use for social learning as well as under which conditions, and how innovations spread in the population. All three sub-projects will collaborate in the collection of basic information on home ranges, activity patterns, social behaviours, diet and food tree distribution, and the genetic structure of groups. Further synergistic effects will be due to similar general research interests of the applicants and the joint habituation and tracking of such a large number of groups. In contrast to other long term field projects we will forsake the long term observational approach necessary to address questions about life history and ecology. Instead, we will conduct a diversity of experiments to explicitly test linked hypotheses concerning the cognitive mechanisms and strategic abilities underlying social behaviour of vervet monkeys. The combined effort will constitute a world leading project expected to yield unique, novel insights into the social intelligence of wild primates.