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Title: Innovative problem-solving in wild hyenas is reliable across time and contexts
Abstract

Individual differences in behavior are the raw material upon which natural selection acts, but despite increasing recognition of the value of considering individual differences in the behavior of wild animals to test evolutionary hypotheses, this approach has only recently become popular for testing cognitive abilities. In order for the intraspecific approach with wild animals to be useful for testing evolutionary hypotheses about cognition, researchers must provide evidence that measures of cognitive ability obtained from wild subjects reflect stable, general traits. Here, we used a multi-access box paradigm to investigate the intra-individual reliability of innovative problem-solving ability across time and contexts in wild spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta). We also asked whether estimates of reliability were affected by factors such as age-sex class, the length of the interval between tests, or the number of times subjects were tested. We found significant contextual and temporal reliability for problem-solving. However, problem-solving was not reliable for adult subjects, when trials were separated by more than 17 days, or when fewer than seven trials were conducted per subject. In general, the estimates of reliability for problem-solving were comparable to estimates from the literature for other animal behaviors, which suggests that problem-solving is a stable, general trait more » in wild spotted hyenas.

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Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
1755089
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10180115
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Volume:
10
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2045-2322
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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