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New collaborative research reveals chimpanzees can sustain multiple-tradition cultures

roup complete an action sequence, the majority of the chimpanzees followed that sequence for the remainder of the testing period. Over time, the different methods chosen by each high-ranking female were passed among members of her group, thereby becoming a local tradition.

In all, the researchers observed 10 traditions spread throughout the chimpanzee groups at the Yerkes Research Center and the University of Texas.

“This study nicely summarizes our collaborative work of the last five years, showing we can artificially introduce cultures in chimpanzees, which supports the idea cultural variation observed in the wild is learned,” says Dr. de Waal. “We are the first to show cultures potentially can jump from group to group if you offer chimpanzees the opportunity to watch other groups. It’s a bit like Westerners learning to eat with chopsticks."
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Source:Emory University


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