Short of inventing a time machine, we will never see our extinct forebears in action and be able to determine directly how human behaviour and culture has developed. However, we can learn from our closest living relatives, the African great apes. The Cultured Chimpanzee explores the astonishing variation in chimpanzee behaviour across their range, which cannot be explained by individual learning, genetic or environmental influences. It promotes the view that this rich diversity in social life and material culture reflects social learning of traditions, and more closely resembles cultural variety in humans than the simpler behaviour of other animal species. This stimulating book shows that the field of cultural primatology may therefore help us to reconstruct the cultural evolution of Homo sapiens from earlier forms, and that it is essential for anthropologists, archaeologists and zoologists to work together to develop a stronger understanding of human and primate cultural evolution.
William C. McGrew is Professor of Anthropology and Zoology at Miami University in Ohio. He has studied the socio-ecology of wild chimpanzees throughout their range, from Senegal to Tanzania, for over 30 years. Amongst other works, he has written Chimpanzee Material Culture (1992, ISBN 0521413036) and edited Great Ape Societies (1996, ISBN 0521554942) with Linda Marchant and Toshisada Nishida.
1. Introduction; 2. Definition; 3. Disciplines; 4. Creatures other than primates; 5. Primates; 6. Chimpanzee ethnography; 7. Chimpanzee material culture; 8. Chimpanzee society; 9. Lessons from cultural primatology; 10. Does cultural primatology have a future?