Clues to Culture? The Coula- and Panda-Nut Experiments
Studies of chimpanzee tool-use at Bossou have utilized a unique field facility referred to as the “outdoor laboratory.” At this site, located within the Bossou group’s core area, researchers have been able to observe various forms of tool-use at close range, for extended periods at a time, and with reliable frequency within and across years. From these observations, we have gained valuable insights into developmental and cognitive aspects of tool-use in chimpanzees. In addition, field experiments on nut-cracking in particular have contributed to our understanding of mechanisms responsible for maintaining tool-use traditions within chimpanzee communities. Here I describe a series of experiments that aimed to explore issues of innovation as well as within- and between-community transmission in nut-cracking, with some generalizations to the question of culture in chimpanzees.
KeywordsChimpanzee Community Cultural Zone Behavioral Innovation East African Community Behavioral Tradition
The following researchers contributed to the experiments described in this chapter: Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Gen Yamakoshi, Noriko Inoue-Nakamura, Rikako Tonooka, Claudia Sousa, Misato Hayashi, and Susana Carvalho. Local guides at Bossou offered invaluable help. The author thanks the Royal Society for financial support.
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