Peer Review #1 of "Exploring the role of individual learning in animal tool-use (v0.1)" [peer_review]

2020 unpublished
The notion that tool-use is unique to humans has long been refuted by the growing number of observations of animals using tools across various contexts. Yet, the mechanisms behind the emergence and sustenance of these tool-use repertoires are still heavily debated. We argue that the current animal behaviour literature is biased towards a social learning approach, in which animal, and in particular primate tool-use repertoires are thought to require social learning mechanisms (copying variants
more » ... (copying variants of social learning are most often invoked). However, concrete evidence for a widespread dependency on social learning is still lacking. On the other hand, a growing body of observational and experimental data demonstrates that various animal species are capable of acquiring the forms of their tool-use behaviours via individual learning, with (non-copying) social learning regulating the frequencies of the behavioural forms within (and, indirectly, between) groups. As a first outline of the extent of the role of individual learning in animal tool-use, a literature review of reports of the spontaneous acquisition of animal tool-use behaviours was carried out across observational and experimental studies. The results of this review suggest that perhaps due to the pervasive focus on social learning in the literature, accounts of the individual learning of tool-use forms by naïve animals may have been largely overlooked, and their importance under-examined. Abstract 43 The notion that tool-use is unique to humans has long been refuted by the growing number of 44 observations of animals using tools across various contexts. Yet, the mechanisms behind the emergence 45 and sustenance of these tool-use repertoires are still heavily debated. We argue that the current animal 46 behaviour literature is biased towards a social learning approach, in which animal, and in particular 47 primate tool-use repertoires are thought to require social learning mechanisms (copying variants of social 48 learning are most often invoked). However, concrete evidence for a widespread dependency on social 49 learning is still lacking. On the other hand, a growing body of observational and experimental data 50 demonstrates that various animal species are capable of acquiring the forms of their tool-use behaviours 51 via individual learning, with (non-copying) social learning regulating the frequencies of the behavioural 52 forms within (and, indirectly, between) groups. As a first outline of the extent of the role of individual 53 learning in animal tool-use, a literature review of reports of the spontaneous acquisition of animal tool-use 54 behaviours was carried out across observational and experimental studies. The results of this review 55 suggest that perhaps due to the pervasive focus on social learning in the literature, accounts of the 56 individual learning of tool-use forms by naïve animals may have been largely overlooked, and their 57 importance under-examined.
doi:10.7287/peerj.9877v0.1/reviews/1 fatcat:kefm5m6jxfgyfiduke7ucosl4q