Meerkats Teach Their Young

Posted on July 13, 2006  Comments (0)

School is in for meerkat youngsters (broken link – poor usability):

Researchers from the University of Cambridge in England observed meerkats gradually introducing cubs to prey, showing them how to handle captured insects and even removing the stingers from scorpions before giving them to youngsters.

“Although there are anecdotal reports of teaching in species from chimpanzees to killer whales, until this year solid evidence was really lacking,” said Alex Thornton, co-author of the report appearing in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

Animals teaching their young is probably more common than it appears, Hopp said, but “a clear demonstration, and particularly in a wild population, is the uncommon part.”

“Thus, I think this paper is important, as it makes a clear and unambiguous case for the teaching behavior,” he said.

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