Social learning of nut-cracking behaviour in East African sanctuary-living chimpanzees.

Sarah Marshall-Pescini, Andrew Whiten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nut cracking is restricted to communities of wild chimpanzees living in West Africa, suggesting it is an example of a socially transmitted tradition. Detailed study of the acquisition of nut cracking in wild chimpanzees is consistent with this conclusion. However, only 2, small-scale experiments have been carried out in captivity to explore the role of social transmission in the acquisition of this behavior. The study presented here does this with a comparatively larger, statistically viable sample of 11 sanctuary-living chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii), permitting both between- and within-subjects experimental manipulations. Results confirmed that nut cracking can be acquired in a matter of days by social learning, but only in chimpanzees 3 to 4 years old and older. Direct comparisons are made with a study carried out in the wild, revealing striking similarities in developmental profiles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-194
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Volume122
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

Keywords

  • tool use
  • social learning
  • nut cracking
  • chimpanzees
  • CHILDREN HOMO-SAPIENS
  • STONE-TOOL USE
  • WILD CHIMPANZEES
  • CULTURE
  • IMITATION
  • ANTS

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