Variation in neophilia in seven primate species

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Neophilia is a measure of individuals' attraction to novelty and is thought to provide important fitness benefits related to the acquisition of information and the ability to solve novel problems. Although neophilia is thought to vary across individuals and species, few studies have made direct comparisons to assess the factors that predict this variation. Here we operationalized neophilia as the probability of interacting with novel objects and compared the response to familiar and novel objects in 53 captive individuals belonging to 7 different primate species: chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), bonobos (Pan paniscus), Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii), gorillas (Gorilla gorilla), long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), tufted capuchin monkeys (Sapajus apella) and Geoffroy's spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi). Our results showed that individuals were overall more likely to interact with novel than familiar objects. Moreover, we found no evidence that neophilia varied across individuals depending on their sex, age and dominance rank. However, macaques were overall less likely to interact with objects (regardless of their novelty), as compared to bonobos, orangutans, gorillas and capuchin monkeys ​
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