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Title:Spatial Mapping in Wild White -Faced Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus Capucinus)
Author(s):Urbani, Bernardo
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Garber, Paul A.
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Cognitive
Abstract:The goal of this dissertation is to examine a set of behavioral and evolutionary questions concerning human and nonhuman primate cognition, spatial memory, and the ability of monkeys to form mental maps of the location and distribution of feeding and resting sites across a forested landscape. Primates exploit home ranges that vary on spatial scales ranging from less than one hectare to several hundred hectares. However, little is known concerning how nonhuman primates internally store spatial information. Two primary forms of spatial memory have been hypothesized for primates. First, it has been suggested that primates might internally represent spatial memory in the form of a coordinate-based (geometric) map in which points in the landscape are stored as true coordinates. Such a map has been described as a "view-from-above" in which individuals calculate precise angles and distances between targets. Alternatively, it has been suggested that primates may internally represent spatial information as a route-based (topological) map in which individuals use and reuse a set of common pathways and a select number of landmarks to reach a large number of targets. This research examines questions of primate cognitive ecology in wild white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) in northeastern Costa Rica. First, I use a natural field study or behavioral-ecological study in which the natural decision-making, and movement patterns of wild capuchins were documented. Secondly, I use an experimental field study by placing feeding platforms in the forest to determine how capuchins integrate the spatial location of these new feeding sites into an internal representation, and the degree to which travel routes are most consistent with a coordinate-based or a route-based spatial representation. A major goal of this research is to develop an understanding of the challenges primates naturally face in locating resources that vary in time and space, and to identify the set of features that may have played a fundamental role in shaping the evolution of decision-making, and spatial abilities in humans. In conclusion, the results suggest that capuchins use a route-based spatial representation in large-scale space and provide some evidence of a coordinate-based spatial representation in small-scale space.
Issue Date:2009
Description:449 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3395522
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2009

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