Parco Natura Viva

Bussolengo, Italy

Parco Natura Viva

Bussolengo, Italy

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Forrester G.S.,University of Westminster | Quaresmini C.,University of Trento | Leavens D.A.,University of Sussex | Spiezio C.,Parco Natura Viva | Vallortigara G.,University of Trento
Animal Cognition | Year: 2012

We employed a bottom-up, quantitative method to investigate great ape handedness. Our previous investigation of gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) demonstrated that contextual information influenced an individual's handedness toward target objects. Specifically, we found a significant right-hand bias for unimanual actions directed toward inanimate target objects but not for actions directed to animate target objects (Forrester et al. in Anim Cogn 14(6):903-907, 2011). Using the identical methodological technique, we investigated the spontaneous hand actions of nine captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) during naturalistic, spontaneous behavior. We assessed both the frequencies and proportions of lateralized hand actions directed toward animate and inanimate targets employing focal follow video sampling. Like the gorillas, the chimpanzees demonstrated a right-handed bias for actions directed toward inanimate targets, but not toward animate targets. This pattern was evident at the group level and for the majority of subjects at the individual level. We postulate that a right-hand bias for only inanimate targets reflects the left hemisphere's dominant neural processing capabilities for objects that have functional properties (inanimate objects). We further speculate that a population-level right-hand bias is not a human-unique characteristic, but one that was inherited from a common human-ape ancestor. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


Quaresmini C.,University of Trento | Forrester G.S.,University of Westminster | Spiezio C.,Parco Natura Viva | Vallortigara G.,University of Trento
Journal of Comparative Psychology | Year: 2014

The influence of the social environment on lateralized behaviors has now been investigated across a wide variety of animal species. New evidence suggests that the social environment can modulate behavior. Currently, there is a paucity of data relating to how primates navigate their environmental space, and investigations that consider the naturalistic context of the individual are few and fragmented. Moreover, there are competing theories about whether only the right or rather both cerebral hemispheres are involved in the processing of social stimuli, especially in emotion processing. Here we provide the first report of lateralized social behaviors elicited by great apes. We employed a continuous focal animal sampling method to record the spontaneous interactions of a captive zoo-living colony of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and a biological family group of peer-reared western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). We specifically focused on which side of the body (i.e., front, rear, left, right) the focal individual preferred to keep conspecifics. Utilizing a newly developed quantitative corpus-coding scheme, analysis revealed both chimpanzees and gorillas demonstrated a significant group-level preference for focal individuals to keep conspecifics positioned to the front of them compared with behind them. More interestingly, both groups also manifested a population-level bias to keep conspecifics on their left side compared with their right side. Our findings suggest a social processing dominance of the right hemisphere for context-specific social environments. Results are discussed in light of the evolutionary adaptive value of social stimulus as a triggering factor for the manifestation of group-level lateralized behaviors. © 2014 American Psychological Association.


Possenti C.D.,University of Milan | Romano A.,University of Milan | Caprioli M.,University of Milan | Rubolini D.,University of Milan | And 3 more authors.
Hormones and Behavior | Year: 2016

Behavioral lateralization is common in animals and may be expressed at the individual- and at the population-level. The ontogenetic processes that control lateralization, however, are largely unknown. Well-established sex-dependence in androgen physiology and sex-dependent variation in lateralization have led to the hypothesis that testosterone (T) has organizational effects on lateralization. The effects of T exposure in early life on lateralization can be efficiently investigated by manipulating T levels in the cleidoic eggs of birds, because the embryo is isolated from maternal and sibling physiological interference, but this approach has been adopted very rarely. In the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) we increased yolk T concentration within the physiological limits and tested the effects on the direction of lateralization in two functionally fundamental behaviors (begging for parental care and escape to cover) of molecularly sexed hatchlings. We also speculated that T may intervene in regulating consistency, rather than direction of lateralization, and therefore tested if T affected the 'repeatability' of lateral preference in consecutive behavioral trials. T treatment had no effect on the direction of lateralization, but enhanced the consistency of lateral preference in escape responses. Sex did not predict lateralization. Neither behavior was lateralized at the population-level. We therefore showed for the first time in any species an effect of egg T on consistency in lateralization. The implications of the effect of T for the evolution of trade-offs in maternal allocation of egg hormones, and the evolutionary interpretations of findings from our studies on lateralization among unmanipulated birds are discussed. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.


Pinna C.,University of Bologna | Nannoni E.,University of Bologna | Rigoni G.,University of Bologna | Grandi M.,University of Bologna | And 4 more authors.
Progress in Nutrition | Year: 2015

Providing hidden food is a method of nutritional and environmental enrichment for captive animals and yogurt is sometimes used with this purpose for non-human primates. Objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of feeding fresh yogurt on the intestinal ecosystem of Emperor tamarins (Saguinus imperator). A population of nine adult/juvenile emperor tamarins received during the whole trial a diet mainly consisting of different fruits. During the first 30 d, the diet did not contain any yogurt; during the following 28 d, every two days, a total of 300 g of fresh fruit yogurt was provided to the animals. A fresh fecal sample was collected from each animal the day before administration of yogurt started (Day 0) and again after 21 and 28 days for chemical and bacterial determinations. Throughout the study, all tamarins remained in good health and no clinical signs of intestinal discomfort were observed. During yogurt supplementation, fecal pH, moisture and ammonia resulted unchanged respect to the beginning of the study. Similarly, fecal volatile fatty acids were not affected by the yogurt intake. On the contrary, fecal spermine concentration resulted significantly decreased at Day 28 respect to Day 0 (4.4 vs. 30.1 nmol/g of feces; P < 0.05). Furthermore, the consumption of yogurt resulted in reduced fecal concentrations of coliforms, enterococci and lactobacilli on Rogosa Agar (respectively, -1.9, -1.5 and -2.8 log CFU/g of feces; P < 0.05). Results from the present study showed that emperor tamarins can tolerate high amounts of yogurt in their diet without showing any signs of lactose malabsorption (for example, soft feces or diarrhea). On the other hand, yogurt ingestion failed to exert any major influence on the animals' intestinal microbiota. © Mattioli 1885.


Nardini G.,Clinica Veterinaria Modena Sud | Barbarossa A.,University of Bologna | Dall'occo A.,University of Bologna | Di Girolamo N.,Centro Veterinario Specialistico | And 5 more authors.
American Journal of Veterinary Research | Year: 2014

Objective—To determine the pharmacokinetics of cefovecin sodium after SC administration to Hermann’s tortoises (Testudo hermanni).Animals—23 healthy adult Hermann’s tortoises (15 males and 8 females).Procedures—Cefovecin (8.0 mg/kg) was injected once in the subcutis of the neck region of Hermann’s tortoises, and blood samples were obtained at predetermined time points. Plasma cefovecin concentrations were measured via ultraperformance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry, and pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated with a noncompartmental model. Plasma protein concentration was quantified, and the percentage of cefovecin bound to protein was estimated with a centrifugation technique.Results—Cefovecin was absorbed rapidly, reaching maximum plasma concentrations between 35 minutes and 2 hours after administration, with the exception of 1 group, in which it was reached after 4 hours. The mean ± SD time to maximum concentration was 1.22 ± 1.14 hours; area under the concentration-time curve was 220.35 ± 36.18 h•µg/mL The mean protein-bound fraction of cefovecin ranged from 41.3% to 47.5%. No adverse effects were observed.Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Administration of a single dose of cefovecin SC appeared to be well-tolerated in this population of tortoises. Results of pharmacokinetic analysis indicated that the 2-week dosing interval suggested for dogs and cats cannot be considered effective in tortoises; however, further research is needed to determine therapeutic concentrations of the drug and appropriate dose ranges. © American Veterinary Medical Association. All rights reserved.


Huffman M.A.,Kyoto University | Spiezio C.,Parco Natura Viva | Spiezio C.,International School for Advanced Studies | Sgaravatti A.,University of Trieste | Leca J.-B.,Kyoto University
Animal Cognition | Year: 2010

Demonstrating the ability to 'copy' the behavior of others is an important aspect in determining whether social learning occurs and whether group level differences in a given behavior represent cultural differences or not. Understanding the occurrence of this process in its natural context is essential, but can be a daunting task in the wild. In order to test the social learning hypothesis for the acquisition of leaf swallowing (LS), a self-medicative behavior associated with the expulsion of parasites, we conducted semi-naturalistic experiments on two captive groups of parasite-free, naïve chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Individuals in the group were systematically provided appropriate stimuli (rough hispid leaves) identical to those used by chimpanzees in the wild. Individuals initially responded in a variety of ways, ranging from total aversion to normal chewing and swallowing. Over time, however, the two groups adopted different variants for inserting and folding the leaves in the mouth prior to swallowing them (complete and partial LS), following the specific method spontaneously displayed by the first and primary LS models in their respective groups. These variants were similar to LS displayed by chimpanzees in the wild. Using the option-bias method, we found evidence for social learning leading to group-level biased transmission and group-level stabilization of these two variants. This is the first report on two distinct cultural variants innovated in response to the introduction of natural stimuli that emerged and spread spontaneously and concurrently within two adjacent groups of socially housed primates. These observations support the assertion that LS may reflect a generalized propensity for ingesting rough hispid leaves, which can be socially induced and transmitted within a group. Ingesting an adequate number of these leaves induces increased gut motility, which is responsible for the subsequent expulsion of particular parasite species in the wild. Cultural transmission and maintenance of LS within a group and associative learning by the individual of the positive consequences of this otherwise non-nutritive mode of ingestion is proposed to be the pivotal link between this feeding propensity and its maintenance as a self-medicative behavior by great apes in the wild. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.


PubMed | McGill University, Parco Natura Viva and International School for Advanced Studies
Type: | Journal: Acta psychologica | Year: 2016

Imitation can be realized via two different routes: a direct route that translates visual input into motor output when gestures are meaningless or unknown, and a semantic route for known/meaningful gestures. Young infants show imitative behaviours compatible with the direct route, but little is known about the development of the semantic route, studied here for the first time. The present study examined preschool children (3-5years of age) imitating gestures that could be transitive or intransitive, and meaningful or meaningless. Both routes for imitation were already present by three years of age, and children were more accurate at imitating meaningful-intransitive gestures than meaningless-intransitive ones; the reverse pattern was found for transitive gestures. Children preferred to use their dominant hand even if they had to anatomically imitate the model to do this, showing that a preference for specular imitation is not exclusive at these ages.


PubMed | Parco Natura Viva and University of Milan
Type: | Journal: Hormones and behavior | Year: 2016

Behavioral lateralization is common in animals and may be expressed at the individual- and at the population-level. The ontogenetic processes that control lateralization, however, are largely unknown. Well-established sex-dependence in androgen physiology and sex-dependent variation in lateralization have led to the hypothesis that testosterone (T) has organizational effects on lateralization. The effects of T exposure in early life on lateralization can be efficiently investigated by manipulating T levels in the cleidoic eggs of birds, because the embryo is isolated from maternal and sibling physiological interference, but this approach has been adopted very rarely. In the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) we increased yolk T concentration within the physiological limits and tested the effects on the direction of lateralization in two functionally fundamental behaviors (begging for parental care and escape to cover) of molecularly sexed hatchlings. We also speculated that T may intervene in regulating consistency, rather than direction of lateralization, and therefore tested if T affected the repeatability of lateral preference in consecutive behavioral trials. T treatment had no effect on the direction of lateralization, but enhanced the consistency of lateral preference in escape responses. Sex did not predict lateralization. Neither behavior was lateralized at the population-level. We therefore showed for the first time in any species an effect of egg T on consistency in lateralization. The implications of the effect of T for the evolution of trade-offs in maternal allocation of egg hormones, and the evolutionary interpretations of findings from our studies on lateralization among unmanipulated birds are discussed.


PubMed | Parco Natura Viva., University of Trento and University of Westminster
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983) | Year: 2014

The influence of the social environment on lateralized behaviors has now been investigated across a wide variety of animal species. New evidence suggests that the social environment can modulate behavior. Currently, there is a paucity of data relating to how primates navigate their environmental space, and investigations that consider the naturalistic context of the individual are few and fragmented. Moreover, there are competing theories about whether only the right or rather both cerebral hemispheres are involved in the processing of social stimuli, especially in emotion processing. Here we provide the first report of lateralized social behaviors elicited by great apes. We employed a continuous focal animal sampling method to record the spontaneous interactions of a captive zoo-living colony of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and a biological family group of peer-reared western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). We specifically focused on which side of the body (i.e., front, rear, left, right) the focal individual preferred to keep conspecifics. Utilizing a newly developed quantitative corpus-coding scheme, analysis revealed both chimpanzees and gorillas demonstrated a significant group-level preference for focal individuals to keep conspecifics positioned to the front of them compared with behind them. More interestingly, both groups also manifested a population-level bias to keep conspecifics on their left side compared with their right side. Our findings suggest a social processing dominance of the right hemisphere for context-specific social environments. Results are discussed in light of the evolutionary adaptive value of social stimulus as a triggering factor for the manifestation of group-level lateralized behaviors.

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