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Innovation in Cultural SystemsContributions from Evolutionary Anthropology$
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Michael J. O'Brien and Stephen J. Shennan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262013338

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262013338.001.0001

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Comparative Perspectives on Human Innovation

Comparative Perspectives on Human Innovation

(p.37) 3 Comparative Perspectives on Human Innovation
Innovation in Cultural Systems

Kevin N. Laland

Simon M. Reader

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses recent research on animal innovation. Some methods and findings of experimental studies of animal innovation are analyzed. It specifically describes innovation in captive populations of callitrichid monkeys, predictors of foraging innovation in starlings, experimental studies of innovation and diffusion in fishes, and social transmission of foraging information in rats. This chapter shows that species differences in innovativeness among monkeys indicate that certain life-history characteristics, particularly a diet reliant on extractive foraging, may favor enhanced innovation. In captive birds, asocial-learning performance measured in isolation predicts which individuals will innovate in a social context.

Keywords:   animal innovation, callitrichid monkeys, starlings, fishes, rats, social transmission, species differences, birds

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