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Geographic Variation in the Behavior of Wild Great Apes: Is It Really Cultural?


van Schaik, C P (2009). Geographic Variation in the Behavior of Wild Great Apes: Is It Really Cultural? In: Laland, K N; Galef, B G. The question of animal culture. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 70-98.

Abstract

Opinions about the importance of social learning of information or inno- vations among animals in nature vary dramatically. Dugatkin (2000, p. 200) sees culture everywhere: “The vast array of animal behaviors that are touched by the long fingers of culture continues to grow, and my guess is that we have seen only the tip of the iceberg,” and “cultural transmission and gene/culture interactions are serious, underestimated forces in evolu- tionary biology” (ibid., p. 28). De Waal (2001, p. 363) agrees: “The world is chock-full of feathered and furry animals that learn their life’s lessons, habits, and songs from one another.” Others are not convinced, arguing
that social learning is invoked spuriously to explain patterns in nature, in particular among great apes and cetaceans, that are explained more parsi- moniously by using developmental models that assume individual acquisi-
tion of behavior patterns often attributed to culture (Galef 1992, 2003a Heyes 1993; Tomasello 1994; Laland and Hoppitt 2003; Laland and Janik 2006).

Opinions about the importance of social learning of information or inno- vations among animals in nature vary dramatically. Dugatkin (2000, p. 200) sees culture everywhere: “The vast array of animal behaviors that are touched by the long fingers of culture continues to grow, and my guess is that we have seen only the tip of the iceberg,” and “cultural transmission and gene/culture interactions are serious, underestimated forces in evolu- tionary biology” (ibid., p. 28). De Waal (2001, p. 363) agrees: “The world is chock-full of feathered and furry animals that learn their life’s lessons, habits, and songs from one another.” Others are not convinced, arguing
that social learning is invoked spuriously to explain patterns in nature, in particular among great apes and cetaceans, that are explained more parsi- moniously by using developmental models that assume individual acquisi-
tion of behavior patterns often attributed to culture (Galef 1992, 2003a Heyes 1993; Tomasello 1994; Laland and Hoppitt 2003; Laland and Janik 2006).

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:11 Aug 2009 14:40
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:18
Publisher:Harvard University Press
ISBN:978-0-674-03126-5
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-20045

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