Chapter 2: Culture and Human Nature
Is culture unique to humans?
This is a very controversial question as there is a lack of consensus on the exact definition
of culture. If we define culture as symbolic coding (signals, icons, and words that refers
to something else that member of a culture can understand. If this is the definition then
yes human do, but then we are simply defining culture in terms of what is uniquely
human and then concluding that culture is therefore unique to human.
If we define it as being able to transfer information though social transmission then no,
culture is not unique to humans. There are many example of this transmission of
information from one generation to the next. Such as Imo in japan learning to clean the
potatoes before eating it, chimps learning to use tools to extract termites from their
mounds (also different chimps have different behaviors form other chimps). We can also
see it in non-primates such as elephants in southAfrica who came to respond
aggressively to human after their ancestors were killed in front of them thus creating
culture of aggressive elephants. Dolphins use sponges on their beaks so they don’t
scratch themselves. Killer whales speak different dialects that are known to change ju