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Chimpanzee Ethnography Reveals Unexpected Cultural Diversity

Boesch, C, Kalan, AK, Mundry, R, Arandjelovic, M, Pika, S, Dieguez, P, Ayuk Ayimisin, E, Barciela, A, Coupland, C, Ebot Egbe, V, Eno-Nku, M, Fay, JM, Fine, D, Hernandez Aguilar, RA, Hermans,, V, Kadam, P, Kambi, M, Llana, M, Maretti, G, Morgan, D , Murai, M, Neil, E, Nicholl, S, Ormsby, LJ, Orume, R, Pacheco, L, Piel, AK, Sanz, C, Sciaky, L, Stewart, FA, Tagg, N, Wessling, EG, Willie, J and Kühl, HS (2020) Chimpanzee Ethnography Reveals Unexpected Cultural Diversity. Nature Human Behaviour. ISSN 2397-3374

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Abstract

Human ethnographic knowledge covers hundreds of societies, whereas chimpanzee ethnography encompasses at most 15 communities. Using termite fishing as a window into the richness of chimpanzee cultural diversity, we address a potential sampling bias with 39 additional communities across Africa. Previously, termite fishing was known from eight locations with two distinguishable techniques observed in only two communities. Here, we add nine termite-fishing communities not studied before, revealing 38 different technical elements, as well as community-specific combinations of three to seven elements. Thirty of those were not ecologically constrained, permitting the investigation of chimpanzee termite-fishing culture. The number and combination of elements shared among individuals were more similar within communities than between them, thus supporting community-majority conformity via social imitation. The variation in community-specific combinations of elements parallels cultural diversity in human greeting norms or chopstick etiquette. We suggest that termite fishing in wild chimpanzees shows some elements of cumulative cultural diversity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: Nature Research (part of Springer Nature)
Date Deposited: 26 May 2020 10:48
Last Modified: 26 May 2020 11:00
DOI or Identification number: 10.1038/s41562-020-0890-1
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13005

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