Social Learning in Animals: The Roots of Culture

By Cecilia M. Heyes; Bennett G. Galef Jr. | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 13
Acquisition of Innovative Cultural Behaviors in Nonhuman Primates: A Case Study of Stone Handling, a Socially Transmitted Behavior in Japanese Macaques

MICHAEL A. HUFFMAN

Department of Zoology

Kyoto University

Kyoto, Japan


THE STUDY OF NONHUMAN PRIMATE CULTURE IN JAPAN

T he question of whether or not animals have culture, and if they do, how does animal culture differ from that of humans has long been a topic of interest and debate (see Halloway, 1969; Kummer, 1971; Dobzhansky, 1972; Mann, 1972; Weiss, 1973; Moore, 1974; Harris, 1979; Galef, 1992). The pioneering studies of Japanese macaques have brought us closer to answering these questions and have played a significant part in bringing to light the importance of social learning in nonhuman primates.

At the time the Kyoto University Primate Research Group, under the leadership of Denzaburo Miyadi and Kinji Imanishi, began investigations of Japanese macaques in 1948, culture was considered to be a uniquely human trait (e.g., Kroeber & Kluckhohn, 1952). Imanishi, often called the father of Japanese primatology, was one of the first to explicitly suggest the presence of culture in animals. In a paper entitled The evolution of human nature, Imanishi ( 1952)

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