"The Question of Ape Culture"

Crona, Anna (2013) "The Question of Ape Culture". [Essay or Creative Nonfiction]

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    Abstract

    What is culture? As defined by the textbook Anthropology: The Human Challenge, culture is, “a society’s shared and socially transmitted ideas, values, and perceptions, which are used to make sense of experience and generate behavior and are reflected in that behavior,” (Haviland 8). As applied to humans then, culture is expressed and measured in our abilities to learn, analyze, teach, individually evolve, and grow in intellect and preference. Human cultures, widely diverse and varying across the globe, are part of what make us unique and define us as a species. Interestingly, however, it is suggested that Homo sapiens are not entirely alone in this regard: research from primatologists and anthropologists alike suggests that several nonhuman primate species, particularly the great ape group consisting of bonobos, orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees, possess and transmit culture as well. Accepting this theory poses both problems and benefits: if apes possess culture, how is our relationship with them to change? Do they deserve human rights? Should our conservation practices shift accordingly? In a more positive light, the cultured ape can extend knowledge about human evolution, and even about human culture itself. My goal is to analyze research from professors, primatologists, and anthropologists supporting and opposing these questions and to evaluate this research through an anthropological lens with the intent of bringing nonhuman primate culture to light.

    Item Type: Essay or Creative Nonfiction
    Created by Student or Faculty: Student
    Additional Information: Winner of a 2013 Fort Lewis College Writing Award
    Subjects: Campus Publications
    School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences > Writing Program
    Depositing User: Minna Sellers
    Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2013 18:24
    Last Modified: 11 Apr 2013 19:13
    URI: http://eprints.fortlewis.edu/id/eprint/155

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