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 3:
Culture in fish?

culture in fish

Many fishes have traditions for following particular routes, using specific places for mating or feeding, and preferring particular foods, which are learned from more experienced individuals. Some of the best evidence for animal traditions is found in fishes, because removal and relocation experiments have prove these behaviours to be socially transmitted, and maintained across generations (1). Our laboratory experiments have shown that novel feeding behaviour can be transmitted through shoals of fish, that simple copying and following processes can generate behavioural traditions (2), and that some fish copy using surprisingly complex learning rules (3).


  1. Laland K.N. & Janik V. (2006) Trends in Ecology & Evolution 21: 542-547; Laland, K.N. (2008) Current Biology 18(9): R366-R370
  2. Reader S.M. & Laland K.N. (2000) Animal Behaviour 60: 175-180; Laland, K.N. & Williams, K. (1997) Animal Behaviour 53: 1161-1169.
  3. Pike T.W. et al. (2010) Behavioural Ecology

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