Exploring innovative problem-solving in African lions (Panthera leo) and snow leopards (Panthera uncia)

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2022
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O'Connor, Victoria L.
Thomas, Patrick
Chodorow, Martin
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Behavioural Processes. Elsevier. 2022, 199, 104648. ISSN 0376-6357. eISSN 1872-8308. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2022.104648
Zusammenfassung

Cognitive ability is likely linked to adaptive ability; animals use cognition to innovate and problem-solve in their physical and social environments. We investigated innovative problem-solving in two species of high conservation importance: African lions (Panthera leo; n = 6) and snow leopards (Panthera uncia; n = 9). We designed a custom multi-access puzzle box (MAB) to present a simple and effective behavioral test for the cats to explore. We measured Repeated Innovation, Persistence, Success, Contact Latency, and the Exploration Diversity of individuals interacting with the MAB. Of the six African lions, three (50%) solved one door to the box, one solved two doors (16.67%), and one solved three doors (16.67%). Of the nine snow leopards, one solved one door (11.11%), three solved two doors (33.33%), and none solved all three doors (0%). Persistence was a significant predictor of Success in African lions and snow leopards; more Persistent individuals were more likely to open a door. We also observed significant individual variation in Persistence for both species, but only snow leopards also exhibited differences in Contact Latency and Exploration Diversity. These results suggest individuals vary in their problem-solving approaches. Our findings support both species as successful, repeated innovators. Carnivores face ecological and social challenges and, presumably, benefit from cognitive abilities facilitating the successful navigation of these challenges in captivity and the wild.

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Fachgebiet (DDC)
570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
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Panthera, Animal cognition, Innovative problem-solving, Persistence, Repeated innovation
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ISO 690O'CONNOR, Victoria L., Patrick THOMAS, Martin CHODOROW, Natalia BORREGO, 2022. Exploring innovative problem-solving in African lions (Panthera leo) and snow leopards (Panthera uncia). In: Behavioural Processes. Elsevier. 2022, 199, 104648. ISSN 0376-6357. eISSN 1872-8308. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2022.104648
BibTex
@article{OConnor2022-06Explo-58134,
  year={2022},
  doi={10.1016/j.beproc.2022.104648},
  title={Exploring innovative problem-solving in African lions (Panthera leo) and snow leopards (Panthera uncia)},
  volume={199},
  issn={0376-6357},
  journal={Behavioural Processes},
  author={O'Connor, Victoria L. and Thomas, Patrick and Chodorow, Martin and Borrego, Natalia},
  note={Article Number: 104648}
}
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    <dcterms:abstract xml:lang="eng">Cognitive ability is likely linked to adaptive ability; animals use cognition to innovate and problem-solve in their physical and social environments. We investigated innovative problem-solving in two species of high conservation importance: African lions (Panthera leo; n = 6) and snow leopards (Panthera uncia; n = 9). We designed a custom multi-access puzzle box (MAB) to present a simple and effective behavioral test for the cats to explore. We measured Repeated Innovation, Persistence, Success, Contact Latency, and the Exploration Diversity of individuals interacting with the MAB. Of the six African lions, three (50%) solved one door to the box, one solved two doors (16.67%), and one solved three doors (16.67%). Of the nine snow leopards, one solved one door (11.11%), three solved two doors (33.33%), and none solved all three doors (0%). Persistence was a significant predictor of Success in African lions and snow leopards; more Persistent individuals were more likely to open a door. We also observed significant individual variation in Persistence for both species, but only snow leopards also exhibited differences in Contact Latency and Exploration Diversity. These results suggest individuals vary in their problem-solving approaches. Our findings support both species as successful, repeated innovators. Carnivores face ecological and social challenges and, presumably, benefit from cognitive abilities facilitating the successful navigation of these challenges in captivity and the wild.</dcterms:abstract>
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