Cladistic analyses of behavioural variation in wild Pan troglodytes: exploring the chimpanzee culture hypothesis

Lycett, S.J. and Collard, M. and McGrew, W.C. (2009) Cladistic analyses of behavioural variation in wild Pan troglodytes: exploring the chimpanzee culture hypothesis. Journal of Human Evolution, 57 (4). pp. 337-349. ISSN 0047-2848. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2009.05.015

Abstract

Long-term field studies have revealed considerable behavioural differences among groups of wild Pan troglodytes. Here, we report three sets of cladistic analyses that were designed to shed light on issues relating to this interpopulation variation that are of particular relevance to palaeoanthropology. In the first set of analyses, we focused on the proximate cause of the variation. Some researchers have argued that it is cultural, while others have suggested that it is the result of genetic differences. Because the eastern and western subspecies of P. troglodytes are well differentiated genetically while groups within the subspecies are not, we reasoned that if the genetic hypothesis is correct, the phylogenetic signal should be stronger when data from the eastern and western subspecies are analysed together compared to when data from only the eastern subspecies are analysed. Using randomisation procedures, we found that the phylogenetic signal was substantially stronger with in a single subspecies rather than with two. The results of the first sets of analyses, therefore, were inconsistent with the predictions of the genetic hypothesis. The other two sets of analyses built on the results of the first and assumed that the intergroup behavioural variation is cultural in nature. Recent work has shown that, contrary to what anthropologists and archaeologists have long believed, vertical intergroup transmission is often more important than horizontal intergroup transmission in human cultural evolution. In the second set of analyses, we sought to determine how important vertical transmission has been in the evolution of chimpanzee cultural diversity. The first analysis we carried out indicated that the intergroup similarities and differences in behaviour are consistent with the divergence of the western and eastern subspecies, which is what would be expected if vertical intergroup transmission has been the dominant process. In the second analysis, we found that the chimpanzee cultural data are not only comparable to a series of modern human cultural data sets in terms of how tree-like they are, but are also comparable to a series of genetic, anatomical, and behavioural data sets that can be assumed to have been produced by a branching process. Again, this is what would be expected if vertical inter-group transmission has been the dominant process in chimpanzee cultural evolution. Human culture has long been considered to be adaptive, but recent studies have suggested that this needs to be demonstrated rather than assumed. With this in mind, in the third set of analyses we investigated whether chimpanzee culture is adaptive. We found the hypothesis that chimpanzee culture is adaptive was supported by an analysis of data from the Eastern African subspecies, but not by an analysis of data from the eastern and western subspecies. The results of our analyses have implications for the number of subspecies in Pan troglodytes, the relationship between hominin taxa and Palaeolithic industries, and the evolution of hominin cognition and behaviour.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Social learning; Cultural transmission; Cladistics; Pan troglodytes; Hominin culture; Cultural evolution
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Shelley Malekia
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2012 11:17
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2012 10:38
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/30880 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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