霊長類の文化 [in Japanese] Culture in Nonhuman Primates [in Japanese]
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More than half a century has passed since Imanishi (1952) proposed ‘culture’ to nonhuman animals. Now, although there is still some skepticism, the discussion of nonhuman cultures is widely accepted in the international academic world. It seems that the study of cultures has become one of the important topics in primatology. In this review, I introduce recent trends of cultural studies on nonhuman primates. First, I give a brief outline of the history of the studies. Then I summarize recent findings of cultural primatology by dividing them into the following three domains: 1) chimpanzee tool use; 2) chimpanzee cultures other than tool use; 3) cultures in other primate species. The most well studied domain is the foraging tool use where more and more additional information about the distributions of known tool types has been reported from new study sites in addition to several novel tool types. From long studied sites, the details of developmental process or tool selection are often well investigated. There are some reports on cultural behaviors outside of foraging tool techniques but the information is still limited compared to tool use. Finally I introduce some of the recent debates on nonhuman cultures by focusing on the distinction between culture and tradition, the distinction between social and asocial learning, and the ‘ethnographic’ method often employed by field primatologists. I argue that recent discussions of animal culture often tacitly include the idea of hierarchical advances that implies the complex and sophisticated human culture is in the highest and the best stage. This reminds us of the outdated view on human cultural hierarchism which saw the modernized western culture as the final stage. I stress the importance of writing ‘real’ ethnographies of nonhuman primates for full development of cultural primatology.
- Primate Research
Primate Research (24), 229-240, 2009
Primate Society of Japan