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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 07:53 AM

Signs of culture in whales and monkeys

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/349980/description/Signs_of_culture_in_whales_and_monkeys

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 culture builds upon people learning skills from each other, he says.

Scientists have previously spotted signs of social learning in monkeys, birds and other animals, but most studies relied on field observations or experiments with captive animals, says cognitive biologist Andrew Whiten of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

To gauge the role of social learning in wild animals, Whiten’s team trained four groups of vervet monkeys living in a South African game preserve to eat either blue or pink corn and despise corn of the other color. Whiten and colleagues did this by soaking one type of colored corn in an aloe solution that the monkeys found disgusting.

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Signs of culture in whales and monkeys (Original post)
xchrom Apr 2013 OP
Nihil May 2013 #1
GliderGuider May 2013 #2
Nihil May 2013 #3
GliderGuider May 2013 #4
CreekDog May 2013 #6
Nihil May 2013 #7
gejohnston May 2013 #5

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu May 2, 2013, 01:11 PM

1. So?

 

That still isn't going to stop the Japanese, Norwegians & Icelanders from slaughtering
the whales or the scum of various nations from killing off monkeys for "bush-meat".

The poor creatures could even sit outside the United Nations building, writing their
own placards, yet they would *still* be seen as "dumb animals fit only for exploitation"
by the above nations and their supporters.



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Response to Nihil (Reply #1)

Thu May 2, 2013, 01:31 PM

2. So this

 

It helps to move humanity just a bit further off center stage when it comes to our sense of cosmic importance. And it means that culture exists on a continuum. And maybe it will help us unravel the question of what culture "is" just a bit more.

It won't change humanity significantly and it won't save the whales, but as scientific research devoted to increasing our self-knowledge it sure beats making hydrogen bombs 100 pounds lighter.

In order to stop the exploitation of animals we would need to turn most of humanity into Deep Ecologists. Riiight...

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #2)

Fri May 3, 2013, 05:06 AM

3. No offence ...

 

... but anyone who takes any interest in such research already has an appropriate
"sense of cosmic importance" and those who persist in the slaughter of other sentient
species are not interested in anything of that nature.

Yes, I agree that it is a wonderful thing to be publicised and yes, I think it may help
sway the world-views of some of the "undecided" (or simply ambivalent) but I am just
deeply cynical with regard to it changing the habits/thoughts/intentions of anyone who
is of the wilfully closed, destructive mindset and who is thus causing the major issues.


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Response to Nihil (Reply #3)

Fri May 3, 2013, 10:28 AM

4. I don't think it will make any difference at all to how events unfold

 

Certainly not the high-priority events ever the next two to three decades. As you're aware. those events all have to do with altering the biophysical qualities of the planet: climate change, extreme weather events, rising ocean acidity, fresh water depletion, declining agricultural soil fertility and shortages of various non-renewable resources. Our treatment of other species, even other sentient species, do not rate the faintest wiggle on the seismographs of culture.

IMO the die is now cast, for human and non-human species alike. As they say in Monte Carlo, "Les jeux sont faites, rien ne va plus."

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Response to Nihil (Reply #1)

Fri May 3, 2013, 01:59 PM

6. can't you just appreciate this for the intrinsic value that it has?

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #6)

Sat May 4, 2013, 10:11 AM

7. I appreciated it (the culture of other animals) long before the article was published.

 

As I said upthread:
>> Yes, I agree that it is a wonderful thing to be publicised and yes, I think it may help
>> sway the world-views of some of the "undecided" (or simply ambivalent) but I am just
>> deeply cynical with regard to it changing the habits/thoughts/intentions of anyone who
>> is of the wilfully closed, destructive mindset and who is thus causing the major issues.

No need to hurt your head on my behalf: my complaint wasn't against the subject matter
but against the scum who don't even acknowledge that the different species are NOT placed
around the planet to allow exploitation for profit.

I mourn the loss of the culture of animals who have been and are being driven to extinction
by the unthinking, uncaring greed of humans - especially when said humans are using the
excuse of "a cultural tradition" to justify said exploitation.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2013, 01:38 PM

5. all animals, espesially mammals, have culture.

Much of what we think are instinct even in cats and dogs is learned behavior.

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