Chimpanzee Material Culture: Implications for Human by William C. McGrew

By William C. McGrew

The chimpanzee of all different residing species is our closest relation, with whom we final shared a typical ancestor approximately 5 million years in the past. those African apes make and use a wealthy and sundry equipment of instruments, and of the primates they're the single constant and ordinary tool-users and tool-makers. Chimpanzees meet the factors of a tradition as initially outlined for humans by way of socio-cultural anthropologists. They convey intercourse modifications in utilizing instruments to procure and to technique quite a few plant and animal meals. The technological hole among chimpanzees and human societies that dwell through foraging (hunter-gatherers) is unusually slender a minimum of for food-getting. assorted groups of untamed chimpanzees have varied tool-kits and never all of this nearby and native version may be defined by means of the calls for of the actual and biotic environments during which they stay. a few adjustments usually are customs in response to socially derived and symbolically encoded traditions. This ebook describes and analyzes the tool-use of humankind's nearest dwelling relation. It makes a speciality of box reports of those apes throughout Africa, evaluating their customs to work out in the event that they can justifiably be termed cultural. It makes direct comparisons with the fabric tradition of human foraging peoples. The booklet evaluates the chimpanzee as an evolutionary version, displaying that chimpanzee habit is helping us to deduce the origins of expertise in human prehistory.

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1970). , 1987) than we would generalise about the mental abilities of human beings on the basis of data from institutionally deprived children (Lane, 1977). Special comment is needed about a particular kind of captive chimpanzee, often described as 'semi-free-ranging', 'semi-natural' or 'naturalistic'. This usually means a group of chimpanzees living outdoors in a spacious enclosure with natural vegetation and minimal human interference. What keeps them from being a natural population? First, they are not free to disperse, being bounded, if only by a natural barrier such as water around an island.

Actually, there are two sets of problems. One is how to avoid falsenegative results, that is, under-estimating abilities because deprived conditions allow only deprived performance. A captive chimpanzee could hardly be expected to make tools unless given raw materials. The other is how to avoid false-positive results, that is, over-estimating performance as typical when really it is induced by artificial circumstances. A captive chimpanzee may use a needle and thread but we should not expect sewing in a wild counterpart.

Finally, a reminder for those purists dismissive of studies done in the contrived conditions of captivity: It is logically impossible to do an experiment in nature. To control for variables is to intervene, and intervention of the kind required is unnatural. To those who would do without experiments, the challenge is clear: How can one otherwise choose between alternative hypotheses, at least in a complicated creature like a chimpanzee? ) For example, it is all very well to say that social learning is involved in the individual's acquisition of tool-use in nature.

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