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Dora Biro - ChimpCog


Besides my work on avian navigation, I maintain a long-standing research interest in chimpanzee cognition. I have been collaborating with researchers at the Primate Research Institute (PRI) of Kyoto University, to carry out studies on chimpanzee behaviour both in the laboratory and in the wild.

My laboratory work has examined short-term memory, sequential learning, planning, the understanding of symbols, and numerical competence, drawing comparisons with human subjects. More recently, this research has been extended to include tests of social information use in a highly controlled, automated setting (collaborators Tetsuro Matsuzawa and Chris Martin at the Section of Language and Intelligence at PRI).

My work in the wild focuses on tool-using skills in a small community of chimpanzees at Bossou, Guinea, West Africa. I am primarily interested in developmental aspects of nut-cracking and leaf-tool use, through longitudinal studies of how young chimpanzees acquire the skills, and in the contribution of the social environment in maintaining such group-typical behaviours. I am part of an international team of researchers; please visit the Bossou-Nimba project's website for more information.


Selected publications


Biro, D., Carvalho, S., & Matsuzawa, T. Tools, traditions, and technologies: Interdisciplinary approaches to chimpanzee nut-cracking. In: E. Lonsdorf & S. Ross (Eds.) The mind of the chimpanzee: Ecological and experimental perspectives. Chicago University Press (in press).

Carvalho, S., Biro, D., McGrew, W.C., & Matsuzawa, T. (2009). Tool-composite reuse in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): archaeologically invisible steps in the technological evolution of early hominins? Animal Cognition, 12, S103-S114.

Biro, D., Inoue-Nakamura, N., Tonooka, R., Yamakoshi, G., Sousa, C., & Matsuzawa, T. (2003). Cultural innovation and transmission of tool use in wild chimpanzees: Evidence from field experiments. Animal Cognition, 6, 213-223.

Biro, D. & Matsuzawa, T. (2001). Use of numerical symbols by the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes): Cardinals, ordinals, and the introduction of zero. Animal Cognition, 4, 193-199.

Biro, D. & Matsuzawa, T. (1999). Numerical ordering in a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes): Planning, executing, and monitoring. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 113, 178-185.

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