Manipulation of objects in a captive group of lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus)



The purpose of this study was to investigate the manipulative propensities of a captive group of lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus). Simple natural objects (browse and bamboo poles) were provided regularly in the home cage. Findings indicate richness in the frequency and form of manipulative activities, with juvenile males manipulating the test objects more frequently and exhibiting more goal-directed manipulative activity than adult females. A variety of goal-directed manipulative activities (use of objects to act as ladders, to apply leverage, and to create perches) occurred spontaneously, with some instances involving joint action or social use. These data are consistent with the hypotheses that macaques possess extensive capacities for object exploration and social facilitation, and that an evolutionary history of omnivorous foraging habits correlates positively with the expression of anomalous sensorimotor skills.