Cultural panthropology

Andrew Whiten, Victoria Horner, S Marshall-Pescini

Research output: Other contribution

124 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Culture, in the most basic sense of "tradition," has been shown to exist in many species. There is more to the phenomenon of culture in humans, however, than the mere existence of traditions. Thus, rather than expecting that culture can be assigned to living or ancestral species in an all-or-none fashion, reconstruction of the evolution of this uniquely complex phenomenon is likely to depend on successfully teasing apart its components, which may have evolved in a somewhat mosaic fashion. In this paper, we dissect ten different aspects of human culture and offer evidence that most of them are manifested in chimpanzees, even if in limited ways, permitting inferences about the cultural profile of our common ancestor. The aspects of culture examined include large-scale patterns of behavioral variation across populations, the mechanisms available for social transmission, and cultural contents. The contrasts thus drawn for humans and chimpanzees offer a framework for cultural comparisons between other taxa from the past and present.

Original languageEnglish
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • culture
  • traditions
  • social learning
  • imitation
  • chimpanzees
  • CHIMPANZEES PAN-TROGLODYTES
  • WILD CHIMPANZEES
  • IMITATION
  • CHILDREN
  • TOOL
  • EVOLUTION
  • TRANSMISSION
  • REENACTMENT
  • CONVERGENCE
  • INTENTIONS

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