Is ungulate migration culturally transmitted? Evidence of social learning from translocated animals

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Science  07 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6406, pp. 1023-1025
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0985

Learning where and when

Large ungulate migrations occur across continents and inspire curiosity about how these animals know when to leave and where to go. Jesmer et al. took advantage of regional extinctions and reintroductions of several North American ungulate species to determine the role of learning in migrations (see the Perspective by Festa-Bianchet). Reintroduced populations of bighorn sheep and moose did not migrate as historical herds had. However, after several decades, newly established herds were better able to track the emergence of vegetation in the environment and were increasingly migratory. Thus, newly introduced animals learned about their environment and shared the information through social exchange.

Science, this issue p. 1023; see also p. 972

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