Signs of culture in whales and monkeys

Signs of culture in whales and monkeys

Mammals learn feeding behaviors from their friends and family members

By Meghan Rosen, 15:14 PM April 25, 2013

The phrase “monkey see, monkey do” applies to humpback whales. Vervet monkeys and humpback whales both copy behaviors from their neighbors, researchers report April 25 in Science. The two studies suggest that, like humans, some wild animals pick up new habits from each other.

Accurately imitating one another’s actions is a “potential building block of culture,” says cultural evolutionist Peter Richerson of the University of California, Davis, who was not involved with the work. Complex cult...

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