Animal Cultures – on the road again!

Animal Cultures – a joint Biology/Psychology exhibit is once more ‘on the road’… It’s easy to think of human culture as uniquely isolating us from nature and basic evolutionary processes. Our research has instead revealed cultural processes of varying complexity in primates, birds and fish. The exhibit is now at the Budongo Trail in Edinburgh … Read more

New book: The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins

Luke Rendell from the School of Biology, along with collaborator Hal Whitehead of Dalhousie University in Canada, has a new book released this month by University of Chicago Press, titled “The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins”. Author Phillip Hoare describes it as “an astonishing, unconstrained exploration of the nature and practice of cetacean culture. … Read more

Talk – scope of learning in vervets

Dr Erica van de Waal delivered a talk titled: Field experiments reveal the scope of social learning in vervet monkeys Watch here Behavioural tradition has been an active topic in animal behaviour since the renowned Japanese macaque studies of half a century ago, yet controlled field experiments to clearly identify social learning in the … Read more

Worksheets for Schools

Just added Alaina Macri’s great worksheet pdfs to our resources page. Key Stage 2 (worksheet and answer sheet) Key Stage 3 (worksheet and answer sheet) Key Stage 4 (worksheet and answer sheet)

Chimp culture seen in ‘real time’

Researchers, including Dr Catherine Hobaiter from the University of St Andrews, have observed the spread of a new tool being invented and used by a group of wild chimpanzees. This is the first time that researchers have been able to track the spread of a natural behaviour from individual to individual in the wild. Whilst … Read more

Animal Culture comes to Edinburgh

This week we are at Edinburgh Zoo with our Animal Cultures exhibit. Sited in the Budongo Trail, you will be able see Edinburgh’s resident chimpanzees (including the two-month old baby) in their state-of-the-art home while you have go at a chimp puzzle. Will you be as good as a chimp at learning how to find … Read more

The stand is coming together

Today was an exciting day – we took delivery of the panels for our exhibition stand. While there is still a little work to go getting all of the games and activities ready for our September event at Edinburgh Zoo it really feels like everything is coming together now. Over the coming days we will … Read more

Branco Weiss Fellowship for Erica van de Waal

Many congratulations to our Dr Erica van de Waal, who has been awarded a prestigious international Branco Weiss Research Fellowship (see below) for the next five years, to continue her studies of social learning and cultural transmission in wild vervet monkeys in South Africa. She will switch to this from her present Swiss Science Foundation Fellowship with St Andrews at end of 2014, then formally becoming based in Carel van Schaik’s Zurich group, but continuing to collaborate with us in St Andrews.

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For These Monkeys, Mother Knows Best

New York Times 24th March 2014 When vervet monkeys confront dirty food — say, grapes covered with sand — most of them clean it, but not all of them take the same approach. And when very young monkeys confront their first sandy grape they watch, and learn. Or, as the familiar cliché would have it, … Read more