It’s easy to think of human culture as uniquely isolating us from nature and basic evolutionary processes. Our BBSRC-sponsored research has instead revealed cultural processes of varying complexity in primates, birds and fish.
Observational and experimental studies have identified cultural differences across different wild populations and conformity of immigrants to local group habits. Controlled experiments with captive populations seeded alternative foraging techniques in different groups and mapped the diffusion of these techniques to create local traditions.
Our discoveries highlight a potent new ‘second inheritance system’ in animals, illuminate human cultural evolution, and have further implications for welfare and conservation.
Animal Cultures Collaborators:
- Prof Andrew Whiten
Wardlaw Professor of Psychology, University of St Andrews
- Prof Kevin Laland
Professor of Biology, University of St Andrews
- Dr Luke Rendell
Lecturer, University of St Andrews
- Dr Christian Rutz
Reader in Biology, BBSRC David Phillips Fellow, University of St Andrews
- Dr Alex Thornton
BBSRC David Phillips Fellow, University of Exeter
- Dr Lewis Dean
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of St Andrews
- Dr Elizabeth (Bess) Price
Lecturer, Newcastle University
- Mr Steve Smart
Information Designer, University of St Andrews
- Ms Alaina Macri MSc
Senior Education Officer, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
- Mr Stephen Woollard MSc
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland