Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Potato-washing Behavior

Activity observed among Japanese macaques in which animals learned to wash sand off of sweet potatoes provisioned by researchers; it is also theorized that these monkeys like the taste of the salt water on these potatoes. A juvenile female first learned this behavior and it spread among the other young macaques up to adult females; adult males did not learn the behavior. An example of cognition and culturally transmitted behavior among primates.

See rice-washing behavior and tool use in primates.

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