Testing the cognition of hyenas in the wild can be really difficult, but it's also really fun. MVUA, a young subadult hyena in Talek West, just opened the multi-access box last night (Dec 5th). Unfortunately for me, she was one of 16 hyenas to come up and interact with the box. It's taken me hours to code the video and keep all the hyenas straight! I ended up taking screen shots with ID labels in order to remember who sacked out where.
For those who are new: the multi-access box is a puzzle box baited with meat. There are four different "doors" for getting inside the box that all require different motor behaviors to open. I'm using it to test hyena innovation and learning. MVUA ultimately opened the box using the "door knob" side. It's a door with a hinge on the bottom and a door knob near the top that opens down and out like an oven door. It's proving to be the hyena's favorite way to open the box.
|Minute 3:28: EIGHT hyenas in my video. And they're all mussy subadults with bad spots.|
|Minute 5:43: A few more hyenas have sacked out... trying to remember who sacked out where. We're at 11 hyenas now.|
|Minute 6:55: Now there's a cub pile to the left of the box and I can hardly tell where one cub ends and the other begins!|
|Minute: 10:25: Finally, here's the moment where MVUA opens the box. Identifying what everyone was doing at that second was a challenge.|
However, moments like the ones below make up for all the hard work! Hyenas rank at the top in terms of goofy, silly, and creative behavior... especially when they're playing with my cognition apparatuses (aka "toys" to hyenas).
RAST was pretty nervous about the tube, so she used the ditch to hide and sneak a look at it.
South cubs explore the multi-access box and scare themselves!
DAMA actually went entirely inside the box.
GNUG tries to see if he can fit through the box.
SOUP was really excited to come check out the tube, only the real puzzle here was how to get to it!
And then there was that time a stork walked over and got the meat before Wallflower did.