Cultures in chimpanzees

  title={Cultures in chimpanzees},
  author={Andrew Whiten and Jane Goodall and William C. McGrew and Toshisada Nishida and Vernon Reynolds and Yukimaru Sugiyama and Caroline E. G. Tutin and Richard W. Wrangham and C. Boesch},
As an increasing number of field studies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) have achieved long-term status across Africa, differences in the behavioural repertoires described have become apparent that suggest there is significant cultural variation. Here we present a systematic synthesis of this information from the seven most long-term studies, which together have accumulated 151 years of chimpanzee observation. This comprehensive analysis reveals patterns of variation that are far more… 

Pan African culture: Memes and genes in wild chimpanzees

  • A. Whiten
  • Biology, Psychology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2007
The authors conclude that the phylogenetic trees that best describe the affinities between the behavioral profiles of different chimpanzee communities are not compatible with a genetic explanation and instead support the cultural interpretation.

Controlled studies of chimpanzee cultural transmission.

Phylogenetic analyses of behavior support existence of culture among wild chimpanzees

Cl cladistic analyses of the major cross-site behavioral data set are used to test the hypothesis that the behavioral differences among the best-documented chimpanzee populations are genetically determined and support the suggestion that thebehavior patterns are the product of social learning and, therefore, can be considered cultural.


Cultural variation among chimpanzee communities or unit-groups at nine long-term study sites was charted through a systematic, collaborative procedure in which the directors of the sites first agreed

Cultural assemblages show nested structure in humans and chimpanzees but not orangutans

A significant degree of nestedness is found in human and chimpanzee cultural repertoires, but not for orangutans, suggesting that the traits required for sequential cultural evolution first appeared in the last common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans.

Are behavioral differences among wild chimpanzee communities genetic or cultural? An assessment using tool-use data and phylogenetic methods.

This study refutes the genetic hypothesis and provides further evidence that patterns of behavior in chimpanzees are the product of social learning and therefore meet the main condition for culture.

Demographic influences on the behavior of chimpanzees

How the demographic context affects the possible range of behavioral options open to individuals and ultimately contributes to the explanation of behavioral diversity in chimpanzees is illustrated.

The extent of cultural variation between adjacent chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) communities; a microecological approach.

It is suggested that transmission of cultural knowledge plays a role in determining insectivory prey behavior, independent of ecological conditions, which can lead to large numbers of cultural diversification between neighboring chimpanzee communities.

Panthropology of the Fourth Chimpanzee: A Contribution to Cultural Primatology

The prevalence of elementary technology may indicate that the material culture of Gashaka chimpanzees is most closely related to core cultural tendencies of Central African populations of these apes, which have to cope with high concentrations of anti-feedant defenses of plants against consumption.



The emergence of cultures among wild chimpanzees.

It is shown that social canalization, including imitation, is important in explaining the acquisition of nut-craking behaviour in wild chimpanzees and argued that a culture requires not only a social learning process to produce a faithful transmission of information, but also a mechanism that guarantees the permanence of the information between transmission events.

Evidence for a Social Custom in Wild Chimpanzees

It is concluded that no single behaviour pattern yet reported satisfies all eight criteria of culture but that the grooming-handclasp should qualify as a social custom.

Song "Dialects" in Three Populations of White-Crowned Sparrows

This paper seeks to provide some of the necessary information about song variation in the individual and in a population, both at one time and from year to year, and also by comparing songs in three populations, two adjacent and one distant.

Processes of social learning in the tool use of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and human children (Homo sapiens).

A pattern of results suggest that the chimpanzees were paying attention to the general functional relations in the task and to the results obtained by the demonstrator but not to the actual methods of tool use demonstrated.


Two species especially, Japanese monkey (Macaca fuscata) and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) show innovation, dissemination, standardization, durability, diffusion, and tradition in both subsistence and nonsubsistence activities, as revealed by decades of longitudinal study.

Is nut cracking in wild chimpanzees a cultural behaviour

Abstract Nut cracking behaviour, once thought to be typical for most West African chimpanzees, is in reality restricted to a very small area within the evergreen forest perimeter. In Cote d'Ivoire,

The Evolution of Culture in Animals

John Bonner traces the origins of culture back to the early biological evolution of animals and provides examples of five categories of behavior leading to nonhuman culture: physical dexterity, relations with other species, auditory communication within a species, geographic locations, and inventions or innovations.

Discovering and learning tool-use for fishing honey by captive chimpanzees

The discovery and learning of tool use for fishing honey in an artificial hive by a group of four captive chimpanzees suggests that wild chimpanzees of different populations independently discovered the fishing behavior.