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Acquisition of a socially learned tool use sequence in chimpanzees: implications for cumulative culture

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Acquisition of a socially learned tool use sequence in chimpanzees : implications for cumulative culture. / Vale, Gillian L.; Davis, Sarah J.; Lambeth, Susan P.; Schapiro, Steven J.; Whiten, Andrew.

In: Evolution and Human Behavior, Vol. 38, No. 5, 09.2017, p. 635-644.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvard

Vale, GL, Davis, SJ, Lambeth, SP, Schapiro, SJ & Whiten, A 2017, 'Acquisition of a socially learned tool use sequence in chimpanzees: implications for cumulative culture' Evolution and Human Behavior, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 635-644. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2017.04.007

APA

Vale, G. L., Davis, S. J., Lambeth, S. P., Schapiro, S. J., & Whiten, A. (2017). Acquisition of a socially learned tool use sequence in chimpanzees: implications for cumulative culture. Evolution and Human Behavior, 38(5), 635-644. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2017.04.007

Vancouver

Vale GL, Davis SJ, Lambeth SP, Schapiro SJ, Whiten A. Acquisition of a socially learned tool use sequence in chimpanzees: implications for cumulative culture. Evolution and Human Behavior. 2017 Sep;38(5):635-644. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2017.04.007

Author

Vale, Gillian L. ; Davis, Sarah J. ; Lambeth, Susan P. ; Schapiro, Steven J. ; Whiten, Andrew. / Acquisition of a socially learned tool use sequence in chimpanzees : implications for cumulative culture. In: Evolution and Human Behavior. 2017 ; Vol. 38, No. 5. pp. 635-644.

Bibtex - Download

@article{e61a4346598e41fabf59b5fc685274b9,
title = "Acquisition of a socially learned tool use sequence in chimpanzees: implications for cumulative culture",
abstract = "Cumulative culture underpins humanity's enormous success as a species. Claims that other animals are incapable of cultural ratcheting are prevalent, but are founded on just a handful of empirical studies. Whether cumulative culture is unique to humans thus remains a controversial and understudied question that has far-reaching implications for our understanding of the evolution of this phenomenon. We investigated whether one of human's two closest living primate relatives, chimpanzees, are capable of a degree of cultural ratcheting by exposing captive populations to a novel juice extraction task. We found that groups (N = 3) seeded with a model trained to perform a tool modification that built upon simpler, unmodified tool use developed the seeded tool method that allowed greater juice returns than achieved by groups not exposed to a trained model (non-seeded controls; N = 3). One non-seeded group also discovered the behavioral sequence, either by coupling asocial and social learning or by repeated invention. This behavioral sequence was found to be beyond what an additional control sample of chimpanzees (N = 1 group) could discover for themselves without a competent model and lacking experience with simpler, unmodified tool behaviors. Five chimpanzees tested individually with no social information, but with experience of simple unmodified tool use, invented part, but not all, of the behavioral sequence. Our findings indicate that (i) social learning facilitated the propagation of the model-demonstrated tool modification technique, (ii) experience with simple tool behaviors may facilitate individual discovery of more complex tool manipulations, and (iii) a subset of individuals were capable of learning relatively complex behaviors either by learning asocially and socially or by repeated invention over time. That chimpanzees socially learn increasingly complex behaviors through social and asocial learning suggests that humans' extraordinary ability to do so was built on such prior foundations.",
keywords = "Culture, Cumulative culture, Cultural evolution, Social learning, Ratcheting",
author = "Vale, {Gillian L.} and Davis, {Sarah J.} and Lambeth, {Susan P.} and Schapiro, {Steven J.} and Andrew Whiten",
note = "This work was supported by the John Templeton Foundation (grant ID40128, ‘Exploring the evolutionary foundations of cultural complexity, creativity and trust’ to AW and Kevin Laland) and by the NIH Cooperative Agreement (U42 OD-011197).",
year = "2017",
month = "9",
doi = "10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2017.04.007",
language = "English",
volume = "38",
pages = "635--644",
journal = "Evolution and Human Behavior",
issn = "1090-5138",
publisher = "Elsevier Inc.",
number = "5",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) - Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - Acquisition of a socially learned tool use sequence in chimpanzees

T2 - Evolution and Human Behavior

AU - Vale, Gillian L.

AU - Davis, Sarah J.

AU - Lambeth, Susan P.

AU - Schapiro, Steven J.

AU - Whiten, Andrew

N1 - This work was supported by the John Templeton Foundation (grant ID40128, ‘Exploring the evolutionary foundations of cultural complexity, creativity and trust’ to AW and Kevin Laland) and by the NIH Cooperative Agreement (U42 OD-011197).

PY - 2017/9

Y1 - 2017/9

N2 - Cumulative culture underpins humanity's enormous success as a species. Claims that other animals are incapable of cultural ratcheting are prevalent, but are founded on just a handful of empirical studies. Whether cumulative culture is unique to humans thus remains a controversial and understudied question that has far-reaching implications for our understanding of the evolution of this phenomenon. We investigated whether one of human's two closest living primate relatives, chimpanzees, are capable of a degree of cultural ratcheting by exposing captive populations to a novel juice extraction task. We found that groups (N = 3) seeded with a model trained to perform a tool modification that built upon simpler, unmodified tool use developed the seeded tool method that allowed greater juice returns than achieved by groups not exposed to a trained model (non-seeded controls; N = 3). One non-seeded group also discovered the behavioral sequence, either by coupling asocial and social learning or by repeated invention. This behavioral sequence was found to be beyond what an additional control sample of chimpanzees (N = 1 group) could discover for themselves without a competent model and lacking experience with simpler, unmodified tool behaviors. Five chimpanzees tested individually with no social information, but with experience of simple unmodified tool use, invented part, but not all, of the behavioral sequence. Our findings indicate that (i) social learning facilitated the propagation of the model-demonstrated tool modification technique, (ii) experience with simple tool behaviors may facilitate individual discovery of more complex tool manipulations, and (iii) a subset of individuals were capable of learning relatively complex behaviors either by learning asocially and socially or by repeated invention over time. That chimpanzees socially learn increasingly complex behaviors through social and asocial learning suggests that humans' extraordinary ability to do so was built on such prior foundations.

AB - Cumulative culture underpins humanity's enormous success as a species. Claims that other animals are incapable of cultural ratcheting are prevalent, but are founded on just a handful of empirical studies. Whether cumulative culture is unique to humans thus remains a controversial and understudied question that has far-reaching implications for our understanding of the evolution of this phenomenon. We investigated whether one of human's two closest living primate relatives, chimpanzees, are capable of a degree of cultural ratcheting by exposing captive populations to a novel juice extraction task. We found that groups (N = 3) seeded with a model trained to perform a tool modification that built upon simpler, unmodified tool use developed the seeded tool method that allowed greater juice returns than achieved by groups not exposed to a trained model (non-seeded controls; N = 3). One non-seeded group also discovered the behavioral sequence, either by coupling asocial and social learning or by repeated invention. This behavioral sequence was found to be beyond what an additional control sample of chimpanzees (N = 1 group) could discover for themselves without a competent model and lacking experience with simpler, unmodified tool behaviors. Five chimpanzees tested individually with no social information, but with experience of simple unmodified tool use, invented part, but not all, of the behavioral sequence. Our findings indicate that (i) social learning facilitated the propagation of the model-demonstrated tool modification technique, (ii) experience with simple tool behaviors may facilitate individual discovery of more complex tool manipulations, and (iii) a subset of individuals were capable of learning relatively complex behaviors either by learning asocially and socially or by repeated invention over time. That chimpanzees socially learn increasingly complex behaviors through social and asocial learning suggests that humans' extraordinary ability to do so was built on such prior foundations.

KW - Culture

KW - Cumulative culture

KW - Cultural evolution

KW - Social learning

KW - Ratcheting

U2 - 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2017.04.007

DO - 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2017.04.007

M3 - Article

VL - 38

SP - 635

EP - 644

JO - Evolution and Human Behavior

JF - Evolution and Human Behavior

SN - 1090-5138

IS - 5

ER -

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ID: 249910877