This article does not raise the
issue of symbols. It turns on
imitative learning. But my
anaylsis assumes that animals
can imitate - monkey see, monkey do.
It is symboling that they can't do.
They can't understand the concept
of representation; or at least
not abstractly enough to do
it tens of thousands of times
readily. A chimp can learn to sssoicate
 a limited number of words
with their referants. Even a 
dog can learn to associate a few
words with referents. It's name,
commands like "sit" , "rollover".
"fetch". but they don't seem
to be able to generalize to the
concept of word enough to build
the giant vocabularies that 
humans readily achieve. sit, rollover
fetch etc. are built up through
conditioned learning links between
words and behaviors

CJ can help me to elaborate on
the characteristics of full

On a grassy slope above the shore of Lake Tanganyika
 in the east African nation of Tanzania, two male chimpanzees spot a hole in 
the ground, into which a long column of ants is 
marching. The chimps pause for a moment beneath the light drizzle of an early 
morning rain and then amble to the hole—the 
entrance to the ants' nest—for a closer inspection. The chimpanzees, lifetime 
residents of Tanzania's Gombe Stream 
National Park, expertly select several long sticks and sit down beside the 
nest. Slowly, each of them extends a stick into
 the hole and watches as some of the ants swarm up the probe. As soon as either 
of the chimps gauges that the lower half 
of the stick has become covered with ants, he extracts it from the nest. He 
then quickly gathers the tasty insects from the stick with his free hand and 
pops them into his mouth.

Across the continent in the Tai Forest of 
western Africa's Ivory Coast, two other male chimps have also discovered a nest 
of ants. They each find a suitable tool—a 
short stick, rather than the long probes favored by the Gombe chimps-and begin 
dipping it into the nest entrance to 
fish for a meal. After the ants guarding the nest climb up the sticks, the 
chimps sweep the sticks directly across their
 smacking lips and, without using their hands, draw the ants into their mouths.

At the same time that the chimps are enjoying their morning snacks, two other 
mealtime rituals are being played 
out by other primates (the order of mammals that includes humans, apes, and 
monkeys) far to the west. In St. Louis,
 Missouri, two human families—one whose ancestors came from Asia and the other 
whose forebears originated in Europe—sit 
down to dinner at separate tables in a Chinese restaurant. Both families order 
their favorite dish of spicy orange 
chicken. When the food is served, the Asian family begins eating its meal with 
chopsticks, while the other family picks up forks.

Since the dish could be eaten with either 
chopsticks or forks, the preference for one type of utensil over another is 
simply a reflection of cultural differences
 between the two families. There's nothing unusual about that. But what about 
the differences in the ways the Gombe 
and Tai chimpanzees perform ant fishing? Could those individual preferences 
also reflect differences in 
culture? Since all of the chimps are of the same species, it is unlikely that 
genetic differences could account for 
the variations in behavior. Thus, the different approaches to a similar task, 
ant fishing, are likely to be learned 
behaviors within the Gombe and Tai social groups. That means that knowledge may 
have been passed from one chimp to another. In other words, the chimps seem to 
be exhibiting behavior that 
could be called culture.

Social scientists have long maintained, however,
 that only humans are capable of possessing culture. Are they wrong? Do 
chimpanzees—and perhaps even other animals, 
such as monkeys, whales, and birds—also possess a form of culture? Many 
scientists in 2000 believed that the answer to that question is yes. But others 
insisted that culture is a purely human 
What Do Scientists Mean By “culture?”
Scientists have debated whether animals have 
culture at least since the late 1800's, when the British physiologist and 
psychologist George Romanes proposed that 

some animals display behaviors that indicate a high degree of intelligence and 
an ability to learn. Other scientists,
 however, disagreed with this conclusion, believing that animal behavior is 
hard-wired in the brain. Over the years,
 scientists on both sides of the issue divided themselves into two camps, the 
culturalists and the anticulturalists. 
The culturalists contend that animals are a lot smarter and more adaptable than 
most people think. The anticulturalists argue that animals, regardless of their 
intelligence, are incapable of culture.

Central to this debate is defining what 
exactly is meant by culture. One requirement for culture that is accepted by 
scientists on both sides of the issue 
is imitation, or learning through observation. Researchers agree that cultural 
traditions among humans are learned 
through imitation. An American family in the Midwest may learn to use 
chopsticks from a daughter who attended school in Japan. In another example, 
most American teen-agers since the
 1950's have learned that rock music is the cool music to listen to. Rock has 
become a cultural tradition for young people largely through imitation, as 
teens embrace the predominant 
musical preferences of their peers.

Individual family traditions are yet another 
type of cultural behavior learned through imitation. A mother follows a 
particular recipe for a German chocolate cake 
because her mother did so. A boy learns how to sail the family boat by watching 
his father. One thing that these traditions have in common besides imitation is 
that they are not 
genetically determined.

Like these examples from human culture, animal
 behaviors such as ant fishing are not clearly determined by genes and seem to 
spread from one individual to another 
through imitation. However, anticulturalists argue that the definition of 
culture involves more than just imitation. One
 of the leading voices of the anticulturalist camp, psychologist Bennett G. 
Galef of McMaster University in Ontario,
 maintains that culture must be purposefully taught by an individual with the 
intention of passing on knowledge to another. And teaching, he notes, is a 
difficult thing to prove in animals. Another
 factor that Galef and many other anticulturalists believe is necessary for the 
spread of culture is a spoken language—something that no animal possesses.

Culturalists, however, contend that making a 
spoken language a requirement for culture amounts to stacking the deck. No 
shared animal behavior, regardless of how sophisticated it is, could then 
qualify as culture. Many culturalists, including 
psychologist Andrew Whiten of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and 
Jane Goodall, the renowned zoologist who has
 spent her adult life studying chimpanzees, think culture should be defined 
more broadly. They believe that the spread of a behavior through a group of 
animals by observation and imitation 
qualifies as culture. Under that definition, the transmission of an 
insect-fishing technique from one chimpanzee to another is indeed a form of 

Chimpanzee Tool Use and Social Behavior
Although other scientists had previously observed 
chimpanzees in captivity using tools, Goodall was the first scientist to 
witness chimps in the wild engaged in that activity.
 On an October day in 1960, soon after she arrived in the area that is now 
Gombe Stream National Park, Goodall noticed a 
rustling in the tall grass on a slope. She crouched to the ground, pulled out 
her binoculars, and watched as a chimpanzee 
dipped a grass stem into a termite nest to get at the burrowing insects. Over 
the next several years, Goodall made many 
observations of termite and ant fishing and discovered that the entire troop of 
chimpanzees at Gombe engaged in these behaviors.

Beginning in the 1970's, other teams of scientists
 began studies of chimpanzee behavior in different regions of Africa. In 1999, 
seven research teams, under the guidance of 
Whiten, pooled their data and published their findings in the British journal 
Nature. The investigators reported 39 different chimp activities that met their 
definition of culture as behavior 
that spreads throughout a social group through imitation. The most significant 
of these behaviors were the use of 
simple tools and activities related to grooming and courtship. Most 
importantly, the different groups of chimpanzees 
took individualized approaches to similar tasks. These variations could not be 
explained by either genetic or environmental
 differences, and so they must have spread through imitation 
and—possibly—intentional teaching.

For example, the scientists described the varying insect-fishing methods used 
by different chimp groups. They noted that the chimps at Gombe usually use a 
long stick or stem to extract termites and ants from their nests, and they tend 
to remove the insects from the probe by swiping their hands along it. Chimps at 
Tai and at a site called Bossou, in Guinea, are more likely to fish with a 
short stick and to strip the insects from it with their mouth. Another example 
of cultural variation in chimpanzees is the use of tools to crack open nuts. At 
Gombe, though there are plenty of nuts, the chimps haven't learned to open 
them, despite an abundance of rocks that would be ideal for the task. In 
contrast, chimps at Bossou use stone “hammers” to crack open nuts on either 
stone or wood “anvils.” Chimpanzees at Tai also open nuts in this manner, and 
they often use pieces of wood as well as rocks for their hammers.

According to the scientists, nut cracking by the 
Tai chimps provides a good example of a behavior that is learned by young 
chimps through imitation and then practiced by 
them as adults. While adult Tai chimps expertly open nuts with their hammers 
and anvils, the young chimps try pounding

 on nuts with rotten branches, pieces of fruit, 
and even chunks of termite mounds. They eventually discover that the stones and 
hard pieces of wood used by the adults work the best.

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