Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Experimental studies illuminate the cultural transmission of percussive technologies in homo and pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Abstract

The complexity of Stone Age tool-making is assumed to have relied upon cultural transmission, but direct evidence is lacking. This paper reviews evidence bearing on this question provided through five related empirical perspectives. Controlled experimental studies offer special power in identifying and dissecting social learning into its diverse component forms, such as imitation and emulation. The first approach focuses on experimental studies that have discriminated social learning processes in nut-cracking by chimpanzees. Second come experiments that have identified and dissected the processes of cultural transmission involved in a variety of other forcebased forms of chimpanzee tool use. A third perspective is provided by field studies that have revealed a range of forms of forceful, targeted tool use by chimpanzees, that set percussion in its broader cognitive context. Fourth are experimental studies of the development of flint knapping to make functional sharp flakes by bonobos, implicating and defining the social learning and innovation involved. Finally, new and substantial experiments compare what different social learning processes, from observational learning to teaching, afford good quality human flake and biface manufacture. Together these complementary approaches begin to delineate the social learning processes necessary to percussive technologies within the Pan–Homo clade.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences
Volume370
Issue number1682
Early online date19 Oct 2015
DOIs
StatePublished - 19 Nov 2015

    Research areas

  • Percussive technology, Nut-cracking, Stone tools, Social learning, Cultural transmission, Chimpanzee

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Payoff- and sex-biased social learning interact in a wild primate population

    Bono, A. E. J., Whiten, A., van Schaik, C., Krützen, M., Eichenberger, F., Schnider, A. & van de Waal, E. 10 Sep 2018 In : Current Biology. 28, 17, p. 2800-2805.e4

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Behavioral conservatism is linked to complexity of behavior in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): implications for cognition and cumulative culture

    Davis, S. J., Schapiro, S. J., Lambeth, S. P., Wood, L. A. & Whiten, A. 19 Jul 2018 In : Journal of Comparative Psychology. Advance Online

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. The interaction of social and perceivable causal factors in shaping ‘over-imitation’

    Burdett, E. R. R., McGuigan, N., Harrison, R. & Whiten, A. Jul 2018 In : Cognitive Development. 47, p. 8-18 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Chimpanzees demonstrate individual differences in social information use

    Watson, S. K., Vale, G. L., Hopper, L. M., Dean, L. G., Kendal, R. L., Price, E. E., Wood, L. A., Davis, S. J., Schapiro, S. J., Lambeth, S. P. & Whiten, A. 19 Jun 2018 In : Animal Cognition. In press, 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Linking personality and cognition: a meta-analysis

    Dougherty, L. R. & Guillette, L. M. 13 Aug 2018 In : Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences. 373, 1756, 12 p., 20170282

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  2. Stress hormones, social associations and song learning in zebra finches

    Boogert, N. J., Lachlan, R. F., Spencer, K. A., Templeton, C. N. & Farine, D. R. 13 Aug 2018 In : Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences. 373, 1756, 9 p., 20170290

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Innovation and social transmission in experimental micro-societies: exploring the scope of cumulative culture in young children

    McGuigan, N., Burdett, E., Burgess, V., Dean, L., Lucas, A., Vale, G. & Whiten, A. 5 Dec 2017 In : Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences. 372, 1735, 14 p., 20160425

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Rutz, C. (Editor)
    20122013

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

  2. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B (Journal)

    Cresswell, W. (Member of editorial board)
    20092014

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

  3. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences (Journal)

    van Mourik, T. (Member of editorial board)
    2009

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

  4. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Whiten, A. (Member of editorial board)
    2008 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Tool Use as Adaptation

    Biro, D. (ed.), Haslam, M. (ed.) & Rutz, C. (ed.) 2013 Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences, 368, 1630

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationSpecial issue

ID: 229680430