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Chimpanzee cultures. Edited by Richard W. Wrangham W.C. McGrew Frans B.M. de Waal and Paul G. Heltne. Cambridge MA Harvard University Press. 1994. 424 pp. ISBN 0-674-11662-3. $39

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236
BOOK REVIEWS
book worth its price in showing how much
the field has (and has not) progressed
since 1864.
Besides these, the other essays make informative reading, especially when the different articles are placed side-by-side so that
their contrasting styles, approaches, and
perspectives become apparent. For example,
it is interesting to juxtapose Dart with
Broom. Dart is much more enjoyable to read
with his clear writing style, his penchant for
interpretation, and especially his willingness to veer off into speculations about culture, bipedalism, etc. In contrast, Broom is
much more descriptive and zoologically
straitlaced, less willing to stray into speculation. Asimilar contrast can be made between
the almost casual style in Leakey’s description of “Zinjanthropus” compared to the rigorously formal approach of Johanson, White,
and Coppens’ announcement of A. afarensis.
Moving away from the articles naming new
taxa, it is also interesting to contrast Mayr’s
rationale for limiting the number of named
hominid species with Tattersall’s willingness to greatly expand them. In another per-
spective, it is manifestly apparent how important Nature (as opposed to Science) has
been to the development of paleoanthropology since nearly half of the fifteen species
announcements occurred there. Finally, the
paper by Simpson on the meaning of taxonomic statements and the compilation by
Campbell on the multitude of taxonomic
names proposed for hominids are extremely
useful papers. If Tattersall’s perspective is
followed, Campbell’s list of 87+ species
names may have to be expanded.
In short, this is truly a n excellent compilation, one useful in upper-level human evolution classes and just as important as a source
of the original articles for the professors who
walk into them. For me, and I suspect some
of my colleagues, several of these constitute
basic reading we should have done a long
time ago.
CHIMPANZEE
CULTURES.
Edited by Richard
W. Wrangham, W.C. McGrew, Frans B.M.
de Waal, and Paul G. Heltne. Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press. 1994. 424
pp. ISBN 0-674-11662-3. $39.95 (cloth).
While information from the best-studied
chimpanzee populations at Gombe and Mahale have often been taken to be representative of chimpanzees as a whole, important
differences between populations exist.
Closer comparative work suggests several
reasons for the differences: 1) different
methods; 2) different levels of habituation;
3) different habitat structure; 4)communityspecific, socially transmitted behaviors. In
particular, the woodland environment of
Gombe is distinct and has a shorter canopy
than other more densely forested sites. Comparisons of Gombe, Kibale, and Tai Forest
show that differences in heights of trees can
influence party sizes (Chapman et al.) locomotion, substrate use (Doran and Hunt) and
even hunting strategies of chimpanzees
(Boesch). Clearly, as the editors recognize,
these kinds of differences need to be accounted for before evaluating the importance of cultural mechanisms in explaining
differences in chimpanzee communities.
Chimpanzee Cultures presents current research documenting the great behavorial diversity in the genus Pan. This volume resulted from the second Understanding
Chimpanzees Symposium (19911, and represents collaborative efforts which followed the
conference. As such, it is a welcome departure from the compilation of individual conference papers typical for volumes of this
sort. The volume demonstrates variability
in habitat, seasonality, social experience, enriched versus impoverished captive environments throughout ontogeny and between individuals, communities, geographic areas,
and species. Each of three major sections
treats long-term studies of either ecology, behavior, or cognition.
DAVID
W. FRAYER
Department of Anthropology
University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas
BOOK REVIEWS
The ecology section is probably the most
successful in the volume in identifying explanations for differences between communities and species. In particular, Boesch’s
research documents differences between
Gombe and Tai chimpanzee hunting.
Avoiding the methodological inconsistencies
which can obscure post hoc comparisons
(such as those plaguing Malenky et al. here),
his replication of methods a t these field sites
allows him to conclude that habitat differences shape the vulnerability and therefore
aggressiveness of red colobus monkeys. The
behavior of the monkeys, in turn, affects population differences in chimpanzee response
to their major prey item.
The editors argue that a full understanding of the complexity of diversity illustrated
in this volume requires the tools of cultural
sciences. Unfortunately they don’t provide
the tools needed to evaluate the significance
of the individual contributions in this volume to a unified concept of chimpanzee culture. However, the data presented in the first
section of the volume demonstrate that although habitat differences may explain
much of the ecological variation between
study sites, they do not provide complete answers. For example, each chimpanzee population has its own unique combination of
tools and techniques and these are likely to
be a result of community-specific, learned
traditions. Not all chimpanzees use hammer-and-anvil sets to open nuts despite the
availability of the same kinds of nuts in their
home ranges (McGrew).
Although the cognition section could have
been useful in integrating our current understanding of the cognitive abilities of chimpanzees with what they might mean for
chimpanzee culture, it fell short of the goals
of the comparative efforts employed by the
authors in other sections of this volume. Human culture has been linked to learning processes which rely on the attribution of mental states to others (Tomasello, Povinelli),
although some researchers argue that much
of human knowledge is transmitted without
explicit imitation (McGrew). Povinelli’s work
on the development of reasoning abilities
employs a n elegant research design and is
unique in making interspecific comparisons
of chimpanzees, monkeys, and children.
237
Matsuzawa’s contribution is the sole representation here of experimental field research
and more such work on chimpanzee cognition in natural settings (of the type carried
out on monkeys by Cheney and Seyfarth
1990) is clearly needed.
This book would have benefitted from a
more integrated interpretation of the plethora of behavioral diversity illustrated in its
chapters. Although a reluctance on the part
of the editors to overinterpret the data is
commendable, I would have appreciated
more detailed treatments in the overviews
which head each section and a more synthetic statement by the editors a s a conclusion. As it stands, we are left to wonder
whether chimpanzees have culture and what
their documented diversity means relative
to other genera. Are the differences between
individuals and communities of chimpanzees and bonobos qualitatively different
from what we might observe among other
primates? Perhaps our reluctance a s great
ape researchers to extrapolate beyond the
level of the individual (or community) reflects both a qualitative distinctiveness of
the apes and our difficulty in making generalizations about species which we see as so
similar to our own.
The demonstration of the rich behavioral
diversity within and between chimpanzee
communities emphasizes the importance of
multiple long-term research and conservation efforts throughout the ranges of these
species. Startlingly, the Central African
chimpanzee populations of Pt. troglodytes
remain largely unstudied. Further comparison of this species with the behavior of the
sympatric lowland gorilla should help us
understand the range of diversity present
within and between species and the importance of habitat in shaping species-specific
patterns. This volume highlights the imperative of making methods consistent across
sites and is a call to action for other primate
researchers to take up the gauntlet and to
pursue more collaborative research.
What does this work have to contribute to
studies of early hominid or human evolution? Recent anatomical and molecular research has pointed to the similarities between chimpanzees and humans. Likewise,
the behavioral diversity and social traditions
238
BOOK REVIEWS
characteristic of both species of chimpanzees
and humans are likely to have also been
present in early hominids.
This volume represents the innovative,
truly collaborative, and comparative followup effort to better understand the behavioral
diversity in Pan reported at the 1991 conference. As a comprehensive treatment of the
major areas of chimpanzee behavioral research, it is essential for researchers and
advanced students of this genus and would
be useful as a supplementary text for gradu-
ate or advanced undergraduate courses in
primate behavior.
Books Received
logical Perspective. Princeton: Princeton University
Press. 209 pp. $49.50 (cloth).
Leiggi, P and P May (eds.)(1994) Vertebrate Paleontological Techniques: Volume I. New York: Cambridge University Press. 344 pp. $69.95 (cloth).
McDaniel, A(1995) Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: The Mortality Cost ofcolonizing Liberia in the Nineteenth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 191 pp.
$34.00 (cloth).
Beck, LA (ed.) (1995) Regional Approaches to Mortuary
Analysis. New York: Plenum Press, 277 pp. $45.00
(cloth).
Grauer, AL (ed.) (1995) Bodies of Euidence: Reconstructing History Through Skeletal Analysis. New
York: Wiley-Liss. 247 pp, $39.95 (paper).
Kuhn, SL (1995)Mousterian Lithic Technology: A n Eco-
LITERATURE CITED
Cheney DL and Seyfarth RM (1990) How Monkeys See
the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
MELISSAREMIS
Department of Anthropology
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, Massachusetts
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