Bioinformatics Education Dissemination: Reaching Out, Connecting and Knitting-together


Chimp-Human Relationship

Several long-term field studies of chimpanzee communities across Africa have concluded that chimps are similar to humans in that they too possess behavior traits that are transmitted socially rather than genetically. Whiten et al. (citation/link to website) found 39 different behavior patterns, including tool usage, grooming, and courtship behaviors, which were habitual in some communities yet absent in others. These behaviors have been labeled as products of culture since they are passed on through repeated social or observational learning to become population-level characteristics.

Cultural variation has been observed in some mammalian and avian species, but these variations are for a single behavior pattern such as local dialects of songbirds. The multiple cultural variations of chimpanzees parallels those of humans.



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