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Cultural Transmission in Dispersing Primates

Cultural Transmission in Dispersing Primates

(p.410) 18 Cultural Transmission in Dispersing Primates
Chimpanzees in Context
Lydia V. LunczErica Van De
University of Chicago Press

The study of culture in wild animals has received increasing attention of researchers from different disciplines and has evolved from studying differences across groups to identifying underlying learning mechanisms involved in creating stable diversity across animal populations. Immigration in animals has been proven to be an interesting phenomenon where information on adaptation to local group norms can be directly observed. This chapter compares the behavior of wild primates during migration events, with a focus on observational data in wild chimpanzees from the Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire and field experiments in vervet monkeys from the Inkawu Vervet Project in South Africa. These cross-species comparisons reveal that both primate species show conformist behavior mechanisms, where they abandon the knowledge that they previously had learned in their native group before dispersal and adopt the behavior displayed throughout their new group. This chapter argues that other animal species, beyond the primate lineage, show similar social learning phenomena when dispersing, highlighting the possibility that migration events trigger conformity throughout the animal kingdom.

Keywords:   cross-species comparisons, conformity, culture, dispersal, vervet monkeys, chimpanzees, field experiments, observational data, tool use

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