Phylogenetic analyses of behavior support existence of culture in wild chimpanzees

Lycett, Stephen J. and Collard, Mark and McGrew, William C. Phylogenetic analyses of behavior support existence of culture in wild chimpanzees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104 (45). pp. 17588-17592. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not available from this repository. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL


Culture has long been considered to be not only unique to humans, but also responsible for making us qualitatively different from all other forms of life. In recent years, however, researchers studying chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) have challenged this idea. Natural populations of chimpanzees have been found to vary greatly in their behavior. Because many of these interpopulation differences cannot be readily explained by ecological factors, it has been argued that they result from social learning and, therefore, can be regarded as cultural variations. Recent studies showing social transmission in captive chimpanzee populations suggest that this hypothesis is plausible. However, the culture hypothesis has been questioned on the grounds that the behavioral variation may be explained at a proximate level by genetic differences between subspecies. Here we use cladistic analyses of the major cross-site behavioral data set to test the hypothesis that the behavioral differences among the best-documented chimpanzee populations are genetically determined. If behavioral diversity is primarily the product of genetic differences between subspecies, then population data should show less phylogenetic structure when data from a single subspecies (P. t. schweinfurthii) are compared with data from two subspecies (P. t. verus and P. t. schweinfurthii) analyzed together. Our findings are inconsistent with the hypothesis that the observed behavioral patterns of wild chimpanzee populations can be explained primarily by genetic differences between subspecies. Instead, our results support the suggestion that the behavioral patterns are the product of social learning and, therefore, can be considered cultural.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Central Services
Depositing User: Stephen Lycett
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2011 09:25
Last Modified: 29 May 2014 15:09
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):