Special Issue

April 2011

Special Issue

A special issue from Royal Society Publishing- 'Culture evolves', organized and edited by Andrew Whiten, Robert A Hinde, Christopher B Stringer & Kevin N Laland.


Flier (pdf)

£47.50: Details & Order info... (quote special code TB1567)
or email Debbie.Vaughan@royalsociety.org



Social learning:
"...learning that is influenced by observation of, or interaction with, another animal (typically a conspecific) or its products..."
C. Heyes, 1994

"...a distinctive behavior pattern shared by two or more individuals in a social unit, which persists over time and that new practitioners acquire in part through socially aided learning..."
D. Fragaszy & S. Perry, 2003

...defined by some as synonymous with tradition; others require additional criteria such as that cultures are constituted of multiple and/or diverse kinds of traditions, such as technology and social customs...
A. Whiten & C. van Schaik 2007: see Whiten, 2005 and Laland and Galef, 2009, for further discussion


Case Study 1:
Chimpanzee Cultures

culture in chimpanzees

culture in chimpanzees

A half-century of studies of wild chimpanzees has revealed behavioural differences across Africa that appear to be local traditions.(1)
culture in chimpanzees
However, in the wild it's difficult to complete the behavioural experiments that could test whether these are truly socially learned traditions, so we have pioneered such experiments with captive apes.

Our exhibit illustrates a study in which a single chimpanzee in each of two groups was shown a different method to deal with an artificial foraging task (the 'pan-pipes') (2) then reunited with her group. We have shown that several alternative techniques like this can spread in different groups and become local traditions. (2, 3)

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