Giraffes go for more: a quantity discrimination study in giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Many species, including humans, rely on an ability to differentiate between quantities to make decisions about social relationships, territories, and food. This study is the first to investigate whether giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) are able to select the larger of two sets of quantities in different conditions, and how size and density affect these decisions. In Task 1, we presented five captive giraffes with two sets containing a different quantity of identical foods items. In Tasks 2 and 3, we also modified the size and density of the food reward distribution. The results showed that giraffes (i) can successfully make quantity judgments following Weber’s law, (ii) can reliably rely on size to maximize their food income, and (iii) are more successful when comparing sparser than denser distributions. More studies on different taxa are needed to understand whether specific selective pressures have favored the evolution of these skills in certain taxa.

Last Updated
March 8, 2021