Wild Cultures: A Comparison Between Chimpanzee and Human Cultures

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 6, 2012 - Science - 276 pages
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How do chimpanzees say, 'I want to have sex with you?' By clipping a leaf or knocking on a tree trunk? How do they eat live aggressive ants? By using a short stick with one hand or long stick with both? Ivorian and Tanzanian chimpanzees answer these questions differently, as would humans from France and China if asked how they eat rice. Christophe Boesch takes readers into the lives of chimpanzees from different African regions, highlighting the debate about culture. His ethnography reveals how simple techniques have evolved into complex ones, how teaching styles differ, how material culture widens access to new food sources and how youngsters learn culture. This journey reveals many parallels between humans and chimpanzees and points to striking differences. Written in a vivid and accessible style, Wild Cultures places the reader in social and ecological contexts that shed light on our twin cultures.
 

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Contents

Introduction
9
From human culture to wild culture
22
The paradox of studying culture outside of culture 5
41
Technology boosts chimpanzee cultural ethnography
56
When culture and environment mix
72
about social culture
81
from pupils to teachers
128
Dead or alive? Towards a notion of death and empathy
155
cognition and culture
176
Will we have the time to study chimpanzee culture?
239
Index
267
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About the author (2012)

Christophe Boesch is Professor and Director of the Department of Primatology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. He has studied the chimpanzees of Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire for the last thirty-three years and those of Loango National Park in Gabon for six years. The author of two published books and the founding president of the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, he fights for a better future for the remaining wild ape populations at a grassroots level.

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