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Cultural transmission of tool selection in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus)

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In the Taï National Park in the Ivory Coast, three neighboring chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) groups are habituated to the presence of humans, offering the unique opportunity to search for culturally-influenced behavior by simultaneously minimizing the effect of ecological and genetic influence. Diversity in percussive tool selection has been shown to be group-specific and remain stable despite frequent female transfer between groups. To investigate cultural transmission processes in wild chimpanzee we compared tool selection for Coula edulis nut-cracking between local and newly immigrated group members. Using archaeological methods, we recovered previous tool preferences in the females’ original groups. Comparing these patterns with direct observations after immigration, we demonstrate that new females conform to the tool selection of their new community despite previous preferences for different tools.

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

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