Rendell and Whitehead Reading (2001): Culture in Whales and Dolphins Flashcards Preview

COGS 143 > Rendell and Whitehead Reading (2001): Culture in Whales and Dolphins > Flashcards

Flashcards in Rendell and Whitehead Reading (2001): Culture in Whales and Dolphins Deck (39)
Loading flashcards...

What is the approach that Rendell and Whitehead (2001) take when studying the cultures of whales and dolphins?

ethnographic: observing patterns of behavioural variation in wild populations that cannot be explained by either genetic or environmental factors


What species has been the only one to experimentally possess sophisticated social learning abilities?

Tursiops i.e. vocal and motor imitation


Cultural transmission of information should be _____ in a broad range of environments



How are culture and biological evolution related?

when stable over generations, culture can strongly affect biological evolution in both theory and practice


Vocal and behavioral cultures of killer whales are independent of what?

evolution of cultural faculties


Dolphins use ____ _____ of objects, actions, and concepts to guide their behavior

abstract representations


Culture is define as what?

-info or behavior acquired from conspecifics through some form of social learning
-exposure, social support, matched dependent learning, stimulus enhancement, observational conditioning, imitation, and goal imitation


What is the study approach of Rendell and Whitehead?

1. controlled laboratory experiments (controls but less validity of captive environments) on social learning mechanisms
2. field descriptions of behavioral variation (more ambiguous)


Describe the social structure of humpback whales, killer whales, and female sperm whales.

humpback = fission fusion
killer whales = natal matrilineal groups
female sperm whales = largely matrilineal
male whales = disperse to solitary lives


What is cultural transmission?

spatial, temporal, social patterns of variation in behaviour that are not consistent with genetic or environmental determination of individual learning


What are the 3 types of patterns of cultural transmission discussed?

1. rapid spread of a novel and complex form of behaviour through a segment of the population, indicating a largely horizontal within generation cultural process
2. mother offspring - similarity in a complex form of behaviour indicating vertical-parent offspring
3. (group specific)-differences in complex behaviour between stable groups of animals that are hard to explain by genetic differences, shared environments, or the sizes of demographic structure of the groups


What are examples of rapid spread cultural transmission?

1. humpback whale songs-songs on different grounds evolve as one. horizontal cultural transmission
2. bowhead whales-change year to year, all males on migration sing the same general song
3. lobtail feeding (humpback whale)-cultural innovcations, modification of bubble cloud feeding, modified by slamming tail flukes on water-> pattern suggests social learning (accelerated fun)


What are some examples of mother-offspring similarity cultural transmission?

1. beluga and humpback whales follow mothers on initial migrations and then repeat
2. sponging in bottlenose dolphins
3. killer whales-intentional stranding on beach to catch pinnipeds


What is meant by 'group' in group-specific behavior?

group = set of animals with consistently stronger associations with each other than other members of the population over periods of months to decades


What are examples of groups?

killer and sperm whales = distinctive, behavioural patterns = sympatric, sharing the same habitat and frequently interacting


Killer whales are capable of _____ learning



What are examples of group specific behavior in sperm whales?

cods largely determine by its numerically dominant social unit, passed down culturally in parallel with mitochondria genome, behavioral complexes => encompass vocal and physical behaviours


Cultural traits of cetaceans = _____



What are some examples of between pod variation of foraging (Group specific behavior) in killer whales?

-different sympatric resident pods specalize on different salmon species
-residents barely harass marine mammals


Give 4 examples of imitation in cetaceans.

1. captive killer whale learned vocal repertoire of tank mate
2. calf's output dominated by 90% of output by one call type that distinguished its mother's repertoire from that of a female companion
3. echocodas in sperm whales-overlapping codas, match cods like dolphins match signature whistles
4. imitation of movements and "s posture" of a pinniped by a dolphin sharing teh same tank (vocal and motor imitation)


What is the definition of teaching given by Rendell and Whitehead?

modifying behaviour at some cost or lack of benefit only in the presence of a naive observer such as to encourage, punish, provide experience, or set an example such that the observer acquires a skill more rapidly than it might do otherwise or never learn


What are the effects of teaching killer whale calves how to hunt?

-taught calves learn faster
-fitness cost for mothers who do not give their calves much attention


Cetaceans = _____ social learners



What are the life factors of cetaceans that favour social learning?

1. long life times
2. advanced cognitive abilities
3. prolonged parental care


Ecological factors = _____ _____ in social learning; provide ______ ______

strong role; extensive mobility


What is the use of group signatures by cetaceans?

minimize risk of losing others when moving


what is the effect of the marine environment on social learning?

made social learning highly adaptive as cost reducing agent, adjunt to individual, learning about new niches


How are conformist traditions advantageous to a group?

social norms, conformist traditions advantageous when the culture refers to coordinated behaviors and can lead to highly stable cultures


What are the prerequisites for culture processes to have an effect on genetic evolution?

1. stability
2. multiculturalism


more parent offspring = more ____ _____

cultural transmission