Thursday, September 12, 2013

Orangutan Males Make Travel Plans

Wild Orangutan Males Plan And Communicate Their Travel Direction One Day In Advance, PLoS ONE, 11 September 2013
"In conclusion, regardless of the mechanisms used, wild orangutan males indicate future travel directions through their long calls over a span of about one day. This broadcast information is used in turn by their audience to adjust their own range use. These findings strongly suggest the presence of the ability to plan for the future, as demonstrated in captive experiments with the same species. Such an ability is probably adaptive in many ecological and social conditions. Among orangutans, the combination of a patchy, scarce diet (trees with ripe fruit), high energy requirements due to large body size and an expensive arboreal locomotion style, and a dispersed social system suggests major benefits for high travel efficiency and thus a long-term planning horizon. We therefore do not expect such a planning ability to be limited to orangutans, but rather to exist also in other apes and perhaps other large-brained animal taxa. However, only the fact that orangutan males happen to announce their plans to conspecifics allowed us to recognize its usage in the wild."
Interesting that gender distinction. Would you say that men have any greater fondness for maps than women? ... Assuming validity of their expectation that other apes and large-brained animals also possess this predilection for direction?

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