Class notes on Traditions

3 Pages

Human Evolutionary Biology
Course Code
Human Evolutionary Biology 1329
Richard Wrangham

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Social Conventions in Wild White-faced Capuchin Monkeys -five behavioral patterns qualified as social traditions: handsniffling, sucking of body parts, and three types of games. -some conventions independently invented in virtually identical form at multiple sites. -extinction of several conventions observed during course of study, rarely last longer than 10 years. -hypothesized that the monkeys are using these group or clique specific social conventions to test the quality of social relationships Intro -to understand socioecological factors, it is necessary to look beyond great apes. -capuchin monkeys: new world -independently evolved many traits that are present in humans and chimps -large brain-body ratio, omnivorous, extractive foraging, sometimes share food, skilled tool users, nonconceptive sex, alloparenting, lethal agg, complex social relationships -most models of social transmission are about behaviors performed by single individuals that have a clear adaptive function -social conventions are necessarily performed dyadically rather than by single individuals, the role that social conventions play in the behavioral biologu of the animals is different from the role of foraging related behaviors: transmissions different than the more frequently modeled ones. Identifying a Tradition -behavioral tradition: a practice that is relatively long-lasting and shared among members of a group, each new practitioner relying to some extent upon social influence to learn to perform it. Three criteria: -inter-group variation: the behavior in question must be present in at least one social group and absent in at least one group. must be seen at a rate of at least once per 100 hours of observation, and must be performed by at least three individuals. absent: must never have been seen, and observed for at least 250 hours. -expansion: behavior must exhibit an expansion in the number of performers over time (unless all group members perform it) -durability: the behavior must be durable. we arbitrarily coded behaviors as durable if they were observed spanning at least a six month period. The Study Species -Capuchin: long lived, prolonged juvenile period, multimale, multifemale groups, female philopatric, males migrate multiple times and form migration alliances of 2-4 males that have affiliative relationships and migrate together, invading new groups and evicting some or all of the resident males. female female dyads tend to have the closest bonds. alpha male central role, subordinate males active social life and alloparenting Handsniffing -not universal across study groups. invented or imported multiple times. once established, not in permanent repertoire. -precise form of handsniffing varied somewhat from site to site, the successful propagation of han
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