HW4 Q2A - In this case, tool use among the Suaq orangutans...

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Megan Emrick ANT F301 Homework 4 – #2 Three criteria exist that demonstrate how tool use among the Suaq orangutans is cultural behavior. In order for a behavior to have a cultural basis, it must vary geographically to show that it was invented somewhere. In addition, the behavior must be commonly observed in individuals inhabiting the area, proving that it is now widespread and has persisted since its origination. Secondly, simpler explanations that produce the same spatial pattern, but DO NOT involve social learning, must be eliminated. Finally, the behavior’s geographic distribution must be identified and its practice must be logically explained by culture.
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Unformatted text preview: In this case, tool use among the Suaq orangutans seems to be a cultural behavior based upon the three very different techniques for food acquisition seen in practice by neighboring groups of primates. Although these separate groups inhabit similar areas with access to similar resources, only one developed the ability to use tools for extracting food from Neesia tree holes. The neighboring group utilized a less effective method of brute force for seed consumption, and the third group was not even aware of the nutrition available in the Neesia. Therefore, culture can be the only explanation for the geographic variance in behaviors seen among Suaq orangutans....
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