Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

The ecology of primate material culture


Koops, K; Visalberghi, E; van Schaik, C P (2014). The ecology of primate material culture. Biology Letters, 10(11):20140508.

Abstract

Tool use in extant primates may inform our understanding of the conditions that favoured the expansion of hominin technology and material culture. The ‘method of exclusion’ has, arguably, confirmed the presence of culture in wild animal populations by excluding ecological and genetic explanations for geographical variation in behaviour. However, this method neglects ecological influences on culture, which, ironically, may be critical for understanding technology and thus material culture. We review all the current evidence for the role of ecology in shaping material culture in three habitual tool-using non-human primates: chimpanzees, orangutans and capuchin monkeys. We show that environmental opportunity, rather than necessity, is the main driver. We argue that a better understanding of primate technology requires explicit investigation of the role of ecological conditions. We propose a model in which three sets of factors, namely environment, sociality and cognition, influence invention, transmission and retention of material culture.

Abstract

Tool use in extant primates may inform our understanding of the conditions that favoured the expansion of hominin technology and material culture. The ‘method of exclusion’ has, arguably, confirmed the presence of culture in wild animal populations by excluding ecological and genetic explanations for geographical variation in behaviour. However, this method neglects ecological influences on culture, which, ironically, may be critical for understanding technology and thus material culture. We review all the current evidence for the role of ecology in shaping material culture in three habitual tool-using non-human primates: chimpanzees, orangutans and capuchin monkeys. We show that environmental opportunity, rather than necessity, is the main driver. We argue that a better understanding of primate technology requires explicit investigation of the role of ecological conditions. We propose a model in which three sets of factors, namely environment, sociality and cognition, influence invention, transmission and retention of material culture.

Statistics

Citations

19 citations in Web of Science®
18 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

2 downloads since deposited on 10 Feb 2015
0 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:10 Feb 2015 15:27
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:49
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:1744-9561
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2014.0508

Download

Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only
Size: 424kB
View at publisher