Orangutan Copy Cats

Copying what others do is a familiar human trait; whether it's the latest teen craze in fashion or the way many of us, at any age, are eager to follow the crowd. With support from the National Science Foundation, primatologist Marietta Dindo is researching how this copycat trait is shared by our primate cousins, specifically orangutans at Zoo Atlanta. When Dindo offered a novel way to open a box to get a snack, orangutans copied the behavior almost 100% of the time, and then passed it onto the others. This is how traditions are adopted among human populations. Dindo's study provides evidence that this copycat behavior runs deep within the primate family tree, although orangutans have much more practical reasons for copying behavior than humans do.  Producer:  Ann Kellan

Provided by the National Science Foundation

Runtime: 2:33

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