Chimpanzee Culture Essay

1142 Words 5 Pages
Introduction
This paper analyzes the question of culture in Chimpanzees. It also sheds light on how imitation in different communities can give rise to "culture." In the end, I have tried to extrapolate how imitating language could have given rise to different cultures in human societies, just as imitation in chimpanzees gives rise to chimpanzee culture (assuming it exists). While reading Chapter 4 of "The Talking Ape–– How Language Evolved," I found an interesting paragraph on imitation in Chimpanzees and how it could give rise to culture. This was an interesting fact because Burling was using this to point out that imitation plays an important part in learning a language, which is generally the basis of culture and social identity. And this
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The article is directly used by Burling to illustrate the difference between imitation and mimicry (Chapter 4: The Mind and Language). Burling also endorses the main point of the article that imitation is the reason for Chimpanzee behavior.

Summary of the Article
The article begins by explaining the myriad ways that behavior among chimpanzees varies, and hence concludes that different "cultures" must exist. It also points out that these variations are similar to those found in human cultures as well.
In order to study culture in Chimpanzees, we must first define culture. The article points out that culture means different things in different disciplines. Many cultural anthropologists consider language as a characteristic of culture. From a biological perspective, cultural behavior is something that is transmitted through learning to become a characteristic for the entire population. According to the article, even bird-songs or behavior could imply the existence of culture, as long as it is unique to a particular

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