Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Cultures in chimpanzees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

DOI

Author(s)

Andrew Whiten, J Goodall, WC McGew, T Nishida, other 5

School/Research organisations

Abstract

As an increasing number of field studies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) have achieved long-term status across Africa, differences in the behavioural repertoires described have become apparent that suggest there is significant cultural variation(1-7). Here we present a systematic synthesis of this information from the seven most long-term studies, which together have accumulated 151 years of chimpanzee observation. This comprehensive analysis reveals patterns of variation that are far more extensive than have previously been documented for any animal species except humans(8-11). We find that 39 different behaviour patterns, including tool usage, grooming and courtship behaviours, are customary or habitual in some communities but are absent in others where ecological explanations have been discounted. Among mammalian and avian species, cultural variation has previously been identified only for single behaviour patterns, such as the local dialects of song-birds(12,13). The extensive, multiple variations now documented for chimpanzees are thus without parallel. Moreover, the combined repertoire of these behaviour patterns in each chimpanzee community is itself highly distinctive, a phenomenon characteristic of human cultures(14) but previously unrecognised in non-human species.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-685
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume399
Issue number6737
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 1999

    Research areas

  • CHILDREN HOMO-SAPIENS, PAN-TROGLODYTES, WILD CHIMPANZEES, EVOLUTION, IMITATION

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. The burgeoning reach of animal culture

    Whiten, A., 2 Apr 2021, In: Science. 372, 6537, eabe6514.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

  2. Chimpanzees’ behavioral flexibility, social tolerance and use of tool-composites in a progressively challenging foraging problem

    Harrison, R. A., van Leeuwen, E. & Whiten, A., 19 Feb 2021, In: iScience. 24, 2, 102033.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Why do chimpanzees have diverse behavioral repertoires yet lack more complex cultures? Invention and social information use in a cumulative task

    Vale, G. L., McGuigan, N., Burdett, E., Lambeth, S. P., Lucas, A., Rawlings, B., Schapiro, S. J., Watson, S. K. & Whiten, A., 16 Dec 2020, In: Evolution and Human Behavior. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Does culture shape hunting behavior in bonobos?

    Whiten, A., 1 Sep 2020, In: eLife. 9, 3 p., e62104.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

  5. Refining our understanding of the "elephant in the room"

    Whiten, A., 10 Aug 2020, In: The Behavioral and brain sciences. 43, p. e182

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Nature (Journal)

    Will Cresswell (Reviewer)

    21 Dec 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Nature (Journal)

    Will Cresswell (Reviewer)

    11 Nov 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Nature (Journal)

    David Gerard Dritschel (Editor)

    2005 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  4. Nature (Journal)

    Ifor David William Samuel (Editor)

    2005 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. A 200-million year delay in permanent atmospheric oxygenation

    Poulton, S., Bekker, A., Cumming, V., Zerkle, A. L., Canfield, D. & Johnston, D., 29 Mar 2021, In: Nature. 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Giant nonlinear optical responses from photon-avalanching nanoparticles

    Lee, C., Xu, E. Z., Liu, Y., Teitelboim, A., Yao, K., Fernandez-Bravo, A., Kotulska, A. M., Nam, S. H., Suh, Y. D., Bednarkiewicz, A., Cohen, B. E., Chan, E. M. & Schuck, P. J., 14 Jan 2021, In: Nature. 589, 7841, p. 230-235 6 p., 589.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. An anti-CRISPR viral ring nuclease subverts type III CRISPR immunity

    Athukoralage, J. S., McMahon, S., Zhang, C., Gruschow, S., Graham, S., Krupovic, M., Whitaker, R., Gloster, T. & White, M., 23 Jan 2020, In: Nature. 577, 7791, p. 572-575 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Analyses of non-coding somatic drivers in 2,658 cancer whole genomes

    PCAWG Drivers and Functional Interpretation Working Group, PCAWG Structural Variation Working Group & PCAWG Consortium, 6 Feb 2020, In: Nature. 578, 7793, p. 102-111 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 91631

Top