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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Burgeoning Reach of Social Learning and Culture in Animals’ Lives


Culture – the totality of traditions acquired in a community by social learning from others – has increasingly been found to be pervasive not only in humans but in many animals’ lives, with profound implications for comparative cognitive science as well as evolutionary biology, anthropology and conservation (Aplin, 2019; Brakes et al., 2019; Whiten, 2011; Whiten, 2017a; Whiten et al., 2017). Compared to individual learning, learning from experienced others can more safely and efficiently assimilate the wisdom already accumulated in those individuals.

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