Wild Cultures: A Comparison between Chimpanzee and Human Cultures

Wild Cultures: A Comparison between Chimpanzee and Human Cultures

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Christophe Boesch
Cambridge University Press, 2012-09-06
EAN 9781107025370, ISBN10: 1107025370

Hardcover, 292 pages, 24.9 x 17.6 x 2.2 cm

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.

Advance praise: 'It is hard to imagine a better guide to chimpanzee culture than Christophe Boesch, who for decades has followed these apes in the tropical forest. The author lays out the culture question in all of its richness without any of the anthropocentrism usually surrounding this issue. The result is a highly satisfactory firsthand account of how wild chimpanzees shape their own environment and society.' Frans de Waal, author of The Age of Empathy