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  Sun, age and test location affect spatial orientation in human foragers in rainforests

Jang, H., Boesch, C., Mundry, R., Kandza, V., & Janmaat, K. (2019). Sun, age and test location affect spatial orientation in human foragers in rainforests. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286(1907): 20190934. doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.0934.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-5468-9 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-7740-E
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Jang, Haneul1, 2, Author              
Boesch, Christophe3, 4, Author              
Mundry, Roger1, Author              
Kandza, Vidrich1, Author              
Janmaat, Karline3, Author              
Affiliations:
1Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society, ou_1497674              
2The Leipzig School of Human Origins (IMPRS), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, DE, ou_1497688              
3Chimpanzees, Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society, ou_2149636              
4Great Ape Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation, Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, DE, ou_2149638              

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Free keywords: Spatial orientation; Mbendjele BaYaka people; Pointing accuracy; Sun navigation; Spatial experience; Rainforest
 Abstract: The ability to know the direction of food sources is important for the foraging success of hunter–gatherers, especially in rainforests where dense vegetation limits visual detection distances. Besides sex and age, prior experience with the environment and the use of environmental cues are known to influence orientation abilities of humans. Among environmental cues, the position of the sun in the sky is important for orientation of diurnal animal species. However, whether or to what extent humans use the sun is largely unknown. Here, we investigated orientation abilities of the Mbendjele BaYaka people in the Republic of Congo, by conducting pointing tests (Nparticipants = 54, age: 6–76 years) in different locations in the rainforest. The Mbendjele were overall highly accurate at pointing to out-of-sight targets (median error: 6°). Pointing accuracy increased with age, but sex did not affect accuracy. Crucially, sun visibility increased pointing accuracy in young participants, especially when they were far from the camp. However, this effect became less apparent in older participants who exhibited high pointing accuracy, also when the sun was not visible. This study extends our understandings of orientation abilities of human foragers and provides the first behavioural evidence for sun compass use in humans.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2019-07-242019-07
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: 9
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2019.0934
 Degree: -

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Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  Abbreviation : Proc. R. Soc. B
Source Genre: Journal
 Creator(s):
Affiliations:
Publ. Info: London : Royal Society
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 286 (1907) Sequence Number: 20190934 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0962-8452