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Handbook of Advances in Culture and Psychology, Volume 5$
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Michele J. Gelfand, Chi-yue Chiu, and Ying-yi Hong

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190218966

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190218966.001.0001

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Similarities Between Chimpanzee and Human Culture

Similarities Between Chimpanzee and Human Culture

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 Similarities Between Chimpanzee and Human Culture
Source:
Handbook of Advances in Culture and Psychology, Volume 5
Author(s):

Christophe Boesch

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190218966.003.0001

Originally the concept of culture was proposed only for humans, stressing the importance of social influences on its dynamics and development. Although there is no question that all human groups have different diverse, complex, and rich cultures, a debate begun in the early 1950s raised the issue of animal culture and what it may mean for the uniqueness of human culture. This chapter argues that data from captive studies are difficult to use in this regard owing to the artificiality of the “social dimension” in captive groups and the absence of a species-specific ecological environment-issues that have obscured progress toward a better understanding of human culture. Two major attributes of human culture-cumulative cultural evolution and symbolic culture-arise in adopting an ethnographic approach to the study of differences between wild chimpanzee populations. Culture is observed among both humans and chimpanzees; therefore further work should be aimed at uncovering the specifics of culture in each of these species.

Keywords:   captive studies, chimpanzees, cumulative cultural evolution, social influences, symbolic culture

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