On the individual learning of primate material culture

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/83653
Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2018-08
Language: English
Faculty: 7 Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Ur- und Frühgeschichte
Advisor: Conard, Nicholas (Prof. PhD)
Day of Oral Examination: 2018-07-16
DDC Classifikation: 590 - Animals (Zoology)
Keywords: Archäologie , Primaten , Werkzeug
Other Keywords:
Individual learning
Material culture
social learning
License: http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=de http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=en
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The cognition behind tool-use in primates is studied across a wide variety of fields, ranging from animal behaviour, biology, archaeology, anthropology, history, to psychology. This thesis encapsulates an interdisciplinary approach to studying and interpreting the phylogenetic origins of individual learning behind tool-use in non-human primates. The introduction chapter presents the background to this thesis, introducing concepts such as the Zone of Latent Solutions hypothesis (Tennie et al., 2009), Vygotsky’s (1978) ZAD and ZPD theories, and the current state of animal tool-use research. Chapter II provides a literature review of individual learning of tool-use across animal species, presenting a novel picture of animal tool-use: one in which individual learning, rather than social learning, can drive and sustain animal material culture. Chapter III then discusses the positive results of four independent experimental studies on the individual learning abilities of naïve, captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) across wildlife parks in Europe and a sanctuary in Africa. Chapter IV discusses the results of a study with naïve long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis fascicularis) that failed to reinnovate the pound-hammering behaviour observed in a wild subspecies. Similarly, Chapter V presents the results of a study on the stone knapping abilities of naïve chimpanzees, in which the chimpanzees did not individually or socially learn how to make flakes, contrary to predictions. The last two chapters (IV and V) explore some possible explanations for the lack of reinnovation observed in these two populations. Finally, the discussion (in chapter VI) summarises the main findings and presents some limitations and objections to the studies, alongside recommendations for future work.

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