Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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
Publication statusPublished - 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. A deepening understanding of animal culture suggests lessons for conservation

    Brakes, P., Carroll, E. L., Dall, S., Keith, S., McGregor, P., Mesnick, S., Noad, M., Rendell, L., Robbins, M., Rutz, C., Thorton, A., Whiten, A., Whiting, M., Aplin, L., Bearhop, S., Ciucci, P., Fishlock, V., Ford, J., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Simmonds, M. & 5 others, Spina, F., Wade, P., Whithead, H., Williams, J. & Garland, E. C., 28 Apr 2021, In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 288, 1949, 10 p., 20202718.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

  2. The psychological reach of culture in animals’ lives

    Whiten, A., 27 Apr 2021, In: Current Directions in Psychological Science. OnlineFirst, 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. The burgeoning reach of animal culture

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

  4. 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

  5. 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

Related by journal

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

    Christian Rutz (Editor)

    20122013

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

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

    Will Cresswell (Member of editorial board)

    20092014

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

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

    Tanja van Mourik (Member of editorial board)

    2009

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

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

    Andrew Whiten (Member of editorial board)

    2008 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor 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

Related by journal

  1. Non-human primates use combined rules when deciding under ambiguity

    Romain, A., Broihanne, M-H., De Marco, A., Ngoubangoye, B., Call, J., Rebout, N. & Dufour, V., 1 Mar 2021, In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences. 376, 1819

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Species information in whistle frequency modulation patterns of common dolphins

    Oswald, J. N., Walmsley, S., Casey, C., Fregosi, S., Southall, B. & Janik, V. M., 20 May 2021, (Accepted/In press) In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. The multi-dimensional nature of vocal learning

    Vernes, S., Kriengwatana, B. P., Beeck, V., Fischer, J., Tyack, P. L., ten Cate, C. & Janik, V. M., 26 May 2021, (Accepted/In press) In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. The role of vocal learning in call acquisition of wild gray seal pups

    Stansbury, A. & Janik, V. M., 10 Jun 2021, (Accepted/In press) In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Vocal production learning in mammals revisited

    Janik, V. M. & Knörnschild, M., 28 Apr 2021, (Accepted/In press) In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 229680430

Top