Chimpanzee Material Culture: Implications for Human Evolution

Chimpanzee Material Culture: Implications for Human Evolution

by William C. McGrew
     
 

The chimpanzee, of all other living species, is our closest relation, with whom we last shared a common ancestor about 5 million years ago. These African apes make and use a rich and varied kit of tools, and of the primates they are the only consistent and habitual tool-users and tool-makers.

Chimpanzees meet the criteria of culture as originally defined for human

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Overview

The chimpanzee, of all other living species, is our closest relation, with whom we last shared a common ancestor about 5 million years ago. These African apes make and use a rich and varied kit of tools, and of the primates they are the only consistent and habitual tool-users and tool-makers.

Chimpanzees meet the criteria of culture as originally defined for human beings by socio-cultural anthropologists. They show sex differences in using tools to obtain and to process a variety of plant and animal foods. The technological gap between chimpanzees and human societies that live by foraging (hunter-gatherers) is surprisingly narrow, at least for food-getting. Different communities of wild chimpanzees have different tool-kits, and not all of this regional and local variation can be explained by the demands of the physical and biotic environments in which they live. Some differences are likely to be customs based on socially derived and symbolically encoded traditions.

Chimpanzees serve as heuristic, referential models for the reconstruction of cultural evolution in apes and humans from a common ancestor. However, chimpanzees are not humans, and key differences exist between them and us, though many of these apparent contrasts remain to be explored empirically and theoretically.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521413039
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
02/28/2008
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.83(d)

Table of Contents

Prefacexiii
1Patterns of culture?1
Introduction1
The prey2
Six key sites3
Other sites6
Non-human culture?10
2Studying chimpanzees15
Introduction15
Development of chimpanzee research16
Studies in nature16
Studies in capitivity20
Sites of study23
Eastern chimpanzees23
Central-western chimpanzees25
Western chimpanzees27
Captive chimpanzees28
Methods of study29
Studies in nature30
Methodological issues34
Studies in capitivity36
Collecting data38
Conclusion39
3Chimpanzees as apes40
Introduction40
Sources and methods41
Patterns of tool-use44
Chimpanzee44
Bonobo47
Orang-utan49
Highland gorilla51
Lowland gorilla51
Gibbon52
Socio-ecology53
Brain55
Hands57
Mind57
Apes and their tools59
Ancestral hominoids62
4Cultured chimpanzees?65
Introduction65
Gombe and Kasoje compared65
Case study: Grooming67
Defining culture72
Japanese macaques77
Additional conditions for culture78
Chimpanzees as culture-bearers?79
Culture denied?82
5Chimpanzee sexes88
Introduction88
Sex or gender? An aside89
Sex differences in diet: invertebrates89
Case study: Termite-fishing90
Chimpanzees, tools and termites92
Case study: Ant-dipping93
Chimpanzees and ants97
Sex differences in diet: meat99
Case study: Mammals as prey99
Carnivory elsewhere102
Sex and faunivory103
Nut-cracking105
Food-sharing106
Case-study: Banana-sharing107
Other food sharing111
Other apes112
Origins of sexual division of labour113
Origins of tool-use115
6Chimpanzees and foragers121
Cautionary note121
Why compare chimpanzees and hunter-gatherers?121
Ideal versus actual comparisons123
Hot, dry and open habitats: humans and apes compared127
Case study: Tasmanian humans and Tanzanian apes131
Oswalt's taxonomy131
Choosing samples134
Tasmanian aborigines136
Tanzanian chimpanzees139
Subsistants compared141
Similarities and differences144
Diet144
Food acquisition and processing146
Conclusions149
7Chimpanzees compared150
Introduction150
Difficulties of comparison: eating meat150
Chimpanzee insectivory153
Termites155
Ants159
Honey162
Explaining variation166
Case study: 'Fishing' for termites168
Hammers and anvils173
8Chimpanzee ethnology177
Cataloguing tool-kits177
Non-subsistence technology181
Regional and local patterns189
Innovation193
The invention of termite-fishing195
Cross-cultural chimpanzees?196
9Chimpanzees as models198
Kinds of models198
Models of what?200
Stone artefacts202
Why have palaeo-anthropologists ignored other primates?207
Another cautionary note212
Conclusions214
10What chimpanzees are, are not, and might be215
Introduction215
Conceiving of chimpanzees215
Evolutionarily relevant gaps217
Hunting218
Gathering218
Food processing219
Communication222
Unanswered questions223
Conclusions230
Appendix.Scientific names231
References233
Author index264
Subject index270

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