[Taxacom] "Enculturalization" in apes, dogs, and birds

Richard Jensen rjensen at saintmarys.edu
Thu Feb 10 11:13:24 CST 2011

I read Ken's enculturation as akin to social evolution - something that 
is learned and passed from parent to offspring via social interactions, 
not DNA.  The real test would be to find out if the young, when reared 
in isolation, respond properly or not.  If not, then the response may be 
a learned response.

I recall an example in which a female chimp learned to separate grains 
of rice from sand by scooping up rice that had been scattered on the 
beach and dropping the handful into the water.  Sand sank, rice floated, 
and the meal was completed with minimal effort/discomfort.  This learned 
behavior was quickly picked up by others in the troop and then passed 
from generation to generation socially.  But, I doubt that a chimp 
reared in isolation would demonstrate the same behavior.

Dick J

Have dogs

On 2/10/2011 11:55 AM, Frederick W. Schueler wrote:
> On 2/10/2011 11:13 AM, Curtis Clark wrote:
>> On 2011-02-09 20:57, Kenneth Kinman wrote:
>>>          Interesting, but it seems to me that one should have easily
>>> predicted such a result.  Human babies have been enculturized for
>>> hundreds of thousand (if not millions) of years, and even domesticated
>>> dogs for many thousand of years.
>> What you write makes no sense. Enculturation does not affect the germ
>> plasm, and must be done anew every generation.
> * but the matter under discussion is Dogs knowing to look for food where
> a person has pointed -- shall we estimate 10,000 generations in which a
> Dog that didn't respond in this way would have been both hungry and
> excluded from the preferred breeding pool as a dummy? Anyone who has
> lived with Dogs of diverse breeds must be jaw-droppingly impressed by
> the selective modifications in their behaviour for the tasks they were
> bred to do, and scrounging around for scraps is one of the first tasks
> of domestication, second only to not biting babies.
> Notice also the recent selection to not chew on electrical cords nor to
> chase motor vehicles.
> fred.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
>            Frederick W. Schueler&  Aleta Karstad
> Bishops Mills Natural History Centre - http://pinicola.ca/bmnhc.htm
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Richard J. Jensen, Professor
Department of Biology
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Tel: 574-284-4674

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