ANIMALS LIKE US: ANIMAL CULTURE

In the 1950s, rhesus macaques living on the island of Koshima in Japan started to wash the sweet potatoes researchers gave them to eat.

This observation could have remained anecdotal if the Japanese primatologists had not given this innovation the name of: “preculture”. Culture, always considered as a distinctive feature of the human race was being put into question. The study of the most evolved primates, our cousins the chimpanzees and bonobos, has since then enabled us to give a more precise definition of animal culture: habits acquired through a learning process leading to distinct traditions in different animal communities. Progressively other species have joined the culture club: elephants, dolphins, killer whales and even ravens…Through precise examples and never before seen footage, this documentary fuels the old debat of “nature versus culture” and sheds new light on the paradoxical question:“Is culture natural?”.

 


Details: 52′

Directed by Emma BAUS