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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
  • Fig. 1 Bighorn sheep and moose translocation history.

    (A) The subset of historical and translocated populations of bighorn sheep and moose used to assess the cultural basis of ungulate migration. (B) Timeline of bighorn sheep and moose translocations as well as other important events in the history of these species since the settlement of western North America by European Americans. See SM for further details about translocation history. (Cartography by InfoGraphics Lab, University of Oregon.)

  • Fig. 2 Migratory propensities and green-wave surfing knowledge of seven translocated and historical populations of bighorn sheep.

    (A) Migratory propensities (±SEM) of bighorn sheep translocated into novel landscapes compared with those of historical populations (>200 years old). Asterisks indicate landscapes where naïve individuals were translocated into populations previously established via translocation ~30 years before. (B) Relative to omniscient and naïve foragers on the same landscape, surfing knowledge was lower for translocated (yellow) bighorn sheep than for individuals from historical populations (green). Mean surfing knowledge (black horizontal bars) relative to that of an omniscient forager (set at 1.0) and associated 95% confidence intervals (white boxes) are presented. The surfing knowledge of individuals (black circles) in historical populations was significantly higher than that of translocated individuals (Mann-Whitney U Test, W = 5863, P < 0.001).

  • Fig. 3 Green-wave surfing knowledge and migratory propensity over time.

    (A) After translocation, populations of bighorn sheep (orange circles) and moose (purple circles) require decades to learn and culturally transmit information about how to best surf green waves, (B) eventually leading to the establishment of migration, which (C) takes many generations (the generation time for bighorn sheep and moose is ~7 years). Circles represent estimates of surfing knowledge and migratory propensity for a given population in a given year (i.e., a migratory event). Circle size depicts the amount of confidence (inverse variance) in each estimate. Black lines and gray shaded areas illustrate fitted generalized linear model predictions and their 95% confidence intervals. All relationships are significant at P < 0.01.

Supplementary Materials

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

    Brett R. Jesmer, Jerod A. Merkle, Jacob R. Goheen, Ellen O. Aikens, Jeffrey L. Beck, Alyson B. Courtemanch, Mark A. Hurley, Douglas E. McWhirter, Hollie M. Miyasaki, Kevin L. Monteith, Matthew. J. Kauffman

    Materials/Methods, Supplementary Text, Tables, Figures, and/or References

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    • Materials and Methods 
    • Supplementary Text
    • Figs. S1 and S2 
    • Tables S1 to S3
    • References 

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