News FocusPRIMATE ABILITIES

Chimps in the Wild Show Stirrings of Culture

Science  25 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5423, pp. 2070-2073
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5423.2070

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Summary

TNFCIWA Our closest primate relatives exhibit traditions of grooming, calling, and tool use that a growing number of researchers say add up to a primitive form of culture. Their argument rests on examples in which one chimp learns from another, and on the seemingly arbitrary differences in habits between chimpanzee groups at different sites. But some researchers argue that our primate cousins do not learn as we do, by imitation and instruction, and most agree that primates don't seem to be able to build on previous inventions as humans do.