animal culture

Animal culture describes the current theory of cultural learning in non-human animals through socially transmitted behaviors. The question as to the existence of culture in non-human societies has been a contentious subject for decades, much due to the inexistence of a concise definition for culture. However, many leading scientists agree on culture being defined as a process, rather than an end product. This process, most agree, involves the social transmittance of a novel behavior, both among peers and between generations. This behavior is shared by a group of animals, but not necessarily between separate groups of the same species. The notion of culture in animals dates back to Aristotle and Darwin, but the association of animals’ actions with the actual word “culture” first was brought forward with Japanese primatologists’ discoveries of socially transmitted food behaviors in the 1940s.