Essay Example on Culture Beyond Human: Chimps Show Norms & Habits Too

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  577 Words
Date:  2023-04-05

The focus of this essay is on Gretchen Vogel's article argues that culture is not for humans only. It supports the argument with examples, that elements of culture can be seen among the chimpanzees too.

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According to the article, norms are an element of culture that is witnessed by human beings. The diversity of people around the globe has made them develop different norms and habits; an example is a difference in the way people in France and china take dinner. While the Chinese use chopsticks, people in France do the same using forks. According to the Gretchen Vogel, Chimpanzees are exhibiting the same behavior in the wild. There is an example of Chimpanzees in the Ivory Coast rainforest. An observation of one chimpanzee named Lefkas cracking a coula nut using a stone indicates a prevalent norm among the chimpanzees in that region. There are scattered shells of copula nuts, left behind by other chimpanzees after the meal. The situation is different at the next rainforest where the chimpanzees there, does not crack nuts using stones, even in the presence of many nuts and stones. According to the director of Max Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig Germany. The difference in the norm and the custom of the chimpanzees is a distinct sign of shared history and common ancestry just as in humans. Culture does not surround the skills such as language, art, and music, which are unique to humans. It also includes elements that can be observed among animals. The chimpanzees are evidence that the non- mortal primates might possess a primitive culture that involves learning. The difference in the customs of chimpanzees from one forest to the other shows that chimpanzees can learn the usage of tools call signs and even social norms. The skills learned by chimpanzees are not as complex as those of humans because they learn by imitation. Human beings learn by instructions and that is the only difference that has made it develop a complex form of culture, rituals, and technologies. The study of the primates and their culture is important in informing the human beings about the root of the uniqueness of their culture.

Another aspect discussed, is the multicultural element among the chimpanzees. Study on the chimpanzees from Gombe, Tanzania, when fishing out ants is different from that of chimpanzees in Tai. The mode of fishing out ants has never changed ever since the observation was made nearly a decade ago(Vogel,1999). The chimps have a way of communicating among themselves; the skill of communication varies among chimpanzees in different forests. Each sound produced communicates a unique message either to communicate danger or call out for food. This is another indication that there is a culture among the animals as well as humans.


In conclusion, it is evident from Gretchen Vogel's article that culture is not limited to the human but also animal. Inhuman primates such as chimpanzees exhibit a behavior that is common to a group of chimpanzees. Research has been conducted by biologists, primatologists interested in the development of culture. Gretchen Vogel asserts that norms are a standard way of living and conducting oneself in society .artifacts are tools that are used in the daily activities of man. Chimp families have artifacts used in acquiring food such as stones and sticks.

Work Cited

Vogel, Gretchen. "Chimps in the wild show stirrings of culture." (1999): 2070-2073. Retrieved 14 February 2020, from

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Essay Example on Culture Beyond Human: Chimps Show Norms & Habits Too. (2023, Apr 05). Retrieved from

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