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Social Transmission of Tool Use in Wild Chimpanzees

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Culture has been claimed to represent a cognitive rubicon between humans and other animals, but over the past decade this position has been repeatedly brought into question. An increasing body of work has examined the evidence for culture across a diverse range of species, from fish to primates; but in our closest relatives, the great apes, a key piece of the puzzle has been missing: direct evidence for social learning of natural behaviour. To address this, Dr. Hobaiter presents data on natural tool-use in the Sonso community of chimpanzees in the Budongo forest, Uganda, and discusses whether or not these observations represent evidence for direct social transmission in the wild, or whether alternative explanations such as genetic or environmental factors can sufficiently explain the behaviour.

This talk is part of the Biological Anthropology Seminar Series series.

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