Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Rice-washing Behavior

Behavior observed among Japanese macaques. Japanese researchers provisioned these animals (in order to keep them in the area) with sweet potatoes and finally, rice, which required laborious sorting from sand particles. The same juvenile female who started the potato-washing behavior grabbed a handful of rice and sand, threw it in the water, and the rice was separated from the sand because it floated. Others learned the same behavior. An example of primate cognition and culturally transmitted behavior.

See tool use in primates.

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