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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 December 2009

W. C. McGrew
Affiliation:
Miami University
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Summary

One of the inspirations for this book is another slim volume, Jane Lancaster's (1975) Primate Behavior and the Emergence of Human Culture. Although written almost 30 years ago, it foreshadowed many of the issues taken up here, especially the implications of ape behaviour for modelling the evolutionary origins of humanity's complexity. There is a prophetic chapter, ‘Social Traditions and the Emergence of Culture’. She worked with what was known at the time, especially the innovative food-processing of Koshima's Japanese monkeys and the elementary technology of Gombe's chimpanzees (see below). Much of what she said holds today, but much has changed. For example, there was no hint in her book of comparative analysis of cultural variation across primate communities. Further, all of the examples described for chimpanzees were for material culture (although there was a pioneering treatment of play in vervet monkeys), upon which I focused in an earlier book (McGrew, 1992). Absent, because they had not yet been studied, were the nonmaterial cultural aspects of social relations and structure, and communication. These are treated here.

In the earlier book, I tried to set out my biases, and disappointingly, they all remain: naturalist (not experimentalist), empiricist (not theoretician), publisher (not story-teller), monolinguist (not polyglot), and evolutionist (not creationist). In the last 10 years, as cultural primatology has emerged as an entity, it has done so in parallel with the ‘culture wars’ in the arts, humanities, and even the social sciences.

Type
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The Cultured Chimpanzee
Reflections on Cultural Primatology
, pp. ix - x
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

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  • Preface
  • W. C. McGrew, Miami University
  • Book: The Cultured Chimpanzee
  • Online publication: 29 December 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511617355.001
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  • Preface
  • W. C. McGrew, Miami University
  • Book: The Cultured Chimpanzee
  • Online publication: 29 December 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511617355.001
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Preface
  • W. C. McGrew, Miami University
  • Book: The Cultured Chimpanzee
  • Online publication: 29 December 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511617355.001
Available formats
×