Using the Tools at Hand: Manual Laterality and Elementary Technology in Cebus spp. and Pan spp.


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Abstract

Cebus and Pan appear to be a remarkable example of evolutionary convergence in behavioral ecology. We examine their apparently analogous solutions to problems posed by laterality of hand function and elementary technology. We scrutinize appropriate published data in a meta-analysis, focusing on Cebus apella and C. capucinus and on Pan paniscus and P. troglodytes. We compare behavioral data in terms of captive versus wild, and tool use versus non-tool use, but notable gaps exist in the data, especially for bonobos. Cebus and Pan spp. are equivalent tool users in captivity, but chimpanzees are notably more extensively so in nature. For hand preference, captive bonobos and wild and captive chimpanzees show ambipreference for non-tool-use patterns. For both Cebus spp. and Pan spp., there is a tendency for individuals to be committed exclusively to one hand or the other for tool use. The data for laterality of hand function fit consistently into the five-level model proposed by McGrew and Marchant (1996).

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