News Round-Up

Puzzled otters learn from each other


Asian short-clawed otters learn from each other when solving puzzles to get food, a new study shows.

University of Exeter researchers gave groups of otters a variety of transparent containers baited with meatballs. Each of these food puzzles could be opened by twisting or pulling a particular lid or handle.

The otters saw each puzzle twice, several months apart. The researchers found that the otters solved puzzles 69% faster on average the second time – suggesting a capacity for long-term memory.

The findings also provide evidence of “social learning” – as when one otter cracked a puzzle, its closest “friends” quickly figured it out too. MORE