How bearded capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) prepare to use a stone to crack nuts

Bearded capuchin monkeys crack nuts with naturally varying stone hammers, suggesting they may tune their grips and muscular forces to each stone. If so, they might use discrete actions on a stone before lifting and striking, and they would likely use these actions more frequently when the stone is larger and/or less familiar and/or when first initiating striking. We examined the behavior of (a) four monkeys (all proficient at cracking nuts) with two larger (1 kg) and two smaller (0.5 kg) stones, (b) 12 monkeys with one 1 kg stone, and (c) one monkey during its first 100 strikes with an initially unfamiliar 1 kg stone. Bearded capuchin monkeys used three discrete actions on the stone before striking, all more often with the larger stones than the smaller stones. We infer that the first discrete action (Spin) aided the monkey in determining where to grip the stone, the second (Flip) allowed it to position the stone on the anvil ergonomically before lifting it, and the third (Preparatory Lift) readied the monkey for the strenuous lifting action. The monkey that provided 100 strikes with one initially unfamiliar stone performed fewer Spins in later strikes but performed Flip and Preparatory Lift at consistent rates. The monkeys gripped the stone with both hands along the sides to lift it, but usually moved one or both hands to the top of the stone at the zenith of the lift for the downward strike. The findings highlight two new aspects of the capuchins' nut-cracking: (a) Anticipatory actions with the stone before striking, especially when the stone is larger or unfamiliar, and when initiating striking and (b) shifting grips on the stone during a strike. We invite researchers to investigate if other taxa use anticipatory actions and shift their grips during percussive activity.

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Fragaszy, Dorothy M.
Morrow, Kristen S.
Baldree, Rhianna
Unholz, Emily
Izar, Patricia
Visalberghi, Elisabetta
Haslam, Michael
A.R. Liss,, New York , Stati Uniti d'America
American journal of primatology (Print) 81 (2019). doi:10.1002/ajp.22958
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Fragaszy, Dorothy M.; Morrow, Kristen S.; Baldree, Rhianna; Unholz, Emily; Izar, Patricia; Visalberghi, Elisabetta; Haslam, Michael/titolo:How bearded capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) prepare to use a stone to crack nuts/d
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