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dc.contributor.author
Briefer, Elodie F.
dc.contributor.author
Haque, Samaah
dc.contributor.author
Baciadonna, Luigi
dc.contributor.author
McElligott, Alan G.
dc.date.accessioned
2019-06-07T12:18:48Z
dc.date.available
2017-06-11T07:41:27Z
dc.date.available
2019-06-07T12:18:48Z
dc.date.issued
2014-03-26
dc.identifier.issn
1742-9994
dc.identifier.other
10.1186/1742-9994-11-20
en_US
dc.identifier.uri
http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11850/83361
dc.identifier.doi
10.3929/ethz-b-000083361
dc.description.abstract
Introduction The computational demands of sociality (maintaining group cohesion, reducing conflict) and ecological problems (extractive foraging, memorizing resource locations) are the main drivers proposed to explain the evolution cognition. Different predictions follow, about whether animals would preferentially learn new tasks socially or not, but the prevalent view today is that intelligent species should excel at social learning. However, the predictions were originally used to explain primate cognition, and studies of species with relatively smaller brains are rare. By contrast, domestication has often led to a decrease in brain size, which could affect cognition. In domestic animals, the relaxed selection pressures compared to a wild environment could have led to reduced social and physical cognition. Goats possess several features commonly associated with advanced cognition, such as successful colonization of new environments and complex fission-fusion societies. Here, we assessed goat social and physical cognition as well as long-term memory of a complex two-step foraging task (food box cognitive challenge), in order to investigate some of the main selection pressures thought to affect the evolution of ungulate cognition. Results The majority of trained goats (9/12) successfully learned the task quickly; on average, within 12 trials. After intervals of up to 10 months, they solved the task within two minutes, indicating excellent long-term memory. The goats did not learn the task faster after observing a demonstrator than if they did not have that opportunity. This indicates that they learned through individual rather than social learning. Conclusions The individual learning abilities and long-term memory of goats highlighted in our study suggest that domestication has not affected goat physical cognition. However, these cognitive abilities contrast with the apparent lack of social learning, suggesting that relatively intelligent species do not always preferentially learn socially. We propose that goat cognition, and maybe more generally ungulate cognition, is mainly driven by the need to forage efficiently in harsh environments and feed on plants that are difficult to access and to process, more than by the computational demands of sociality. Our results could also explain why goats are so successful at colonizing new environments.
en_US
dc.format
application/pdf
en_US
dc.language.iso
en
en_US
dc.publisher
BioMed Central
en_US
dc.rights.uri
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
dc.subject
Domestication
en_US
dc.subject
Long-term memory
en_US
dc.subject
Physical cognition
en_US
dc.subject
Social learning
en_US
dc.subject
Ungulates
en_US
dc.title
Goats excel at learning and remembering ahighly novel cognitive task
en_US
dc.type
Journal Article
dc.rights.license
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
ethz.journal.title
Frontiers in Zoology
ethz.journal.volume
11
en_US
ethz.journal.issue
1
en_US
ethz.journal.abbreviated
Front. zool.
ethz.pages.start
20
en_US
ethz.size
12 p.
en_US
ethz.version.deposit
publishedVersion
en_US
ethz.identifier.wos
ethz.publication.place
London
en_US
ethz.publication.status
published
en_US
ethz.leitzahl
ETH Zürich::00002 - ETH Zürich, direkt::00012 - Lehre und Forschung, direkt::00007 - Departemente, direkt::02350 - Departement Umweltsystemwissenschaften / Department of Environmental Systems Science::02703 - Institut für Agrarwissenschaften / Institute of Agricultural Sciences (IAS)::08682 - Einheit für Verhalten, Gesundheit und Tierwohl
en_US
ethz.leitzahl.certified
ETH Zürich::00002 - ETH Zürich, direkt::00012 - Lehre und Forschung, direkt::00007 - Departemente, direkt::02350 - Departement Umweltsystemwissenschaften / Department of Environmental Systems Science::02703 - Institut für Agrarwissenschaften / Institute of Agricultural Sciences (IAS)::08682 - Einheit für Verhalten, Gesundheit und Tierwohl
ethz.date.deposited
2017-06-11T07:41:37Z
ethz.source
ECIT
ethz.identifier.importid
imp593651d68c2b955558
ethz.ecitpid
pub:131542
ethz.eth
yes
en_US
ethz.availability
Open access
en_US
ethz.rosetta.installDate
2017-07-19T08:15:37Z
ethz.rosetta.lastUpdated
2019-06-07T12:18:59Z
ethz.rosetta.exportRequired
true
ethz.rosetta.versionExported
true
ethz.COinS
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