Research Paper: Chimpanzees Have Culture?

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[. . .] Goodall (1986) also stated that tools were used by chimpanzees, and that the information the chimpanzees learned from the use of the tools was stored in their memory and passed down to others in their group. This use of tools is very significant, not only because it show that the chimpanzees are learning things, but because they are taking what they learn and passing it along so that others may benefit from it (McGrew, 1998). That is the activity that is the most indicative of the argument for chimpanzees having culture. Their tool use is not the only issue, however, because their diet and the way they hunt are also things that are passed down from one chimpanzee to another (McGrew, 1998).

Each chimpanzee is unique, just as each human is unique. Still, chimpanzees teach one another how to hunt for food, what is safe to eat, and how to use tools in order to make their lives better and more comfortable (Goodall, 1986; McGrew, 1998). Those are the same types of things humans teach to their children, because those who do not learn skills of that nature often struggle with poverty, homelessness, poor health, and other problems. Whether that is actual culture is still an ongoing debate, but the idea that chimpanzees have no culture of which to speak is an idea for which it is becoming more and more difficult to make a solid argument. Based on the work of Goodall (1986) and others, it does appear that there is at least some cultural component to the lives of chimpanzees, despite the fact that their culture is highly different from human culture, which could result in misinterpretations of their actions.


Goodall, J. 1986. The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press…

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Chimpanzees Have Culture?.  (2012, February 15).  Retrieved September 20, 2019, from

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"Chimpanzees Have Culture?."  February 15, 2012.  Accessed September 20, 2019.