Culture in nonhuman primates?

W. C. McGrew*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Citations (Scopus)


Cultural primatology is hypothesized on the basis of social learning of group-specific behavior by nonhuman primates, especially in nature. Scholars ask different questions in testing this idea: what? (anthropologists), how? (psychologists), and why? (zoologists). Most evidence comes from five genera: Cebus (capuchin monkeys), Macaca (macaque monkeys). Gorilla (gorilla), Pongo (orangutan), and Pan (chimpanzees). 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-328
Number of pages28
JournalAnnual Review of Anthropology
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Behavioral ecology
  • Cultural evolution
  • Intergroup differences
  • Social learning
  • Tradition


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