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Animal Culture

Essay by   •  September 18, 2016  •  Case Study  •  334 Words (2 Pages)  •  663 Views

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  • What animals have culture?
  • According to Laland & Hoppitt (2003) the animals that we can see culture in other than humans include; whales, birds and two species of fish. This small handful of animals is due to how culture is defined by each person and the lack of hard experimental evidence that supports animal culture.
  • No primate culture: Laland & Hoppitt argue that some primates such as chimpanzees are capable of complex social learning, but there is a lack of evidence supporting that these social behaviours are not ecologically or genetically influenced.
  • Fish:

French Grunts ( Helfman & Shultz): when translocated to an established population the fish adopted the same schooling sites and migration routes as the population. When control fish were introduced to regions where the residents had been removed they didn’t adopt the same behaviours as the residents.
Bluehead Wrasse (Warner): they didn’t adopt the same mating sites as the populations they exchanged with but maintained definite sites long after the manipulation.

  • (Whitehead) Humpback whales: when a group of whales from the west coast of Australia (Indian Ocean) migrated to the wrong side of Australia (the east coast/ Pacific Ocean), the east coast whales changed their mating song drastically to match the west coast whales.
  • Many of cultures in animals can be argued against if there is a slight chance that the behavioural pattern is influenced by ecological or genetic factors.
  • Dolphins: in a 20 year study of bottlenose dolphins in Western Australia it has been shown that they use a range of complex foraging techniques such as using sponges on their beaks to get prey from crevices. It is considered culture as only subsets of the population use particular techniques as most of the techniques seem to be passed down from mother to offspring, however it can be argued against as there are small possibilities of genetic or ecological influence.

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