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Animal Innovation$
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Simon M. Reader and Kevin N. Laland

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198526223

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198526223.001.0001

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Innovation and Creativity in Forest-Living Rehabilitant Orang-Utans

Innovation and Creativity in Forest-Living Rehabilitant Orang-Utans

(p.279) Chapter 13 Innovation and Creativity in Forest-Living Rehabilitant Orang-Utans
Animal Innovation

Anne E. Russon

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers innovation from a cognitive perspective in ex-captive orang-utans readapting to forest life. The chapter describes innovations identified in the course of studying ex-captives' foraging behaviour to suggest how innovation occurs in foraging. It also describes opportunistically identified innovations in non-foraging domains to suggest the scope of orang-utan innovation. Several recognized conditions appeared to foster innovation in ex-captives and many predictable forms appeared. In addition, developmental change appeared to create an important impetus for innovation by altering behavioural constraints and opportunities. Moreover, complex cognition, including generativity, appeared to underpin cases of deft improvisation and creatively, interweaving multiple types of expertise in complex situations. This chapter highlights the importance of the grain of analysis for species like great apes whose behaviour can be organized into multi-level programs. In these species, innovation may occur at some levels but not others, so detecting its frequency and even its occurrence depends on probing behaviour at the appropriate level.

Keywords:   innovation, ex-captive, orang-utans, foraging, behaviour, cognition, grain of analysis, great apes

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