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Orangutan cultures revisited


van Schaik, C P; Ancrenaz, M; Djojoasmoro, R; Knott, C D; Morrogh-Bernard, H C; Odom, K; Nuzuar; Utami Atmoko, S S; van Noordwijk, M A (2009). Orangutan cultures revisited. In: Wich, S A; Utami Atmoko, S S; Mitra Setia, T; van Schaik, C P. Orangutans: geographic variation in behavioral ecology and conservation. New York, US: Oxford University Press, 299-309.

Abstract

Recent comparative work has claimed the presence of socially transmitted behavioral innovations, ranging from tool use to sounds produced during nest building, i.e. culture, among wild orangutans. Much independent information is corroborating this interpretation. Here, after discussing the possible sources of error in this geographic approach, the chapter updates the estimate of the orangutan’s cultural repertoire by presenting the most recent table of locally varying (i.e. non-universal) orangutan behaviors found after exhaustive comparisons of records from eight sites with long-term orangutan field studies. There now is a minimum of between 26 and 35 of such cultural variants, depending on how one assesses the risk that some of them may in fact be hidden universals, missed by some observers or performed too rarely to be reliably recorded. There was little evidence for the alternative models explaining the geographic variation as an outcome of broad reaction norms toward variable ecology or demography, or of genetic differences between populations, both indicating an absence of social learning.

Recent comparative work has claimed the presence of socially transmitted behavioral innovations, ranging from tool use to sounds produced during nest building, i.e. culture, among wild orangutans. Much independent information is corroborating this interpretation. Here, after discussing the possible sources of error in this geographic approach, the chapter updates the estimate of the orangutan’s cultural repertoire by presenting the most recent table of locally varying (i.e. non-universal) orangutan behaviors found after exhaustive comparisons of records from eight sites with long-term orangutan field studies. There now is a minimum of between 26 and 35 of such cultural variants, depending on how one assesses the risk that some of them may in fact be hidden universals, missed by some observers or performed too rarely to be reliably recorded. There was little evidence for the alternative models explaining the geographic variation as an outcome of broad reaction norms toward variable ecology or demography, or of genetic differences between populations, both indicating an absence of social learning.

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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:06 Feb 2010 17:59
Last Modified:14 Sep 2016 13:41
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISBN:978-0-19-921327-6
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213276.003.0021
Related URLs:http://opac.nebis.ch/F/?local_base=NEBIS&con_lng=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=005683706
http://www.recherche-portal.ch/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?fn=search&mode=Advanced&vid=ZAD&vl%28186672378UI0%29=isbn&vl%281UI0%29=contains&vl%28freeText0%29=978-0-19-921327-6
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-29539

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