Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Animal behaviour

Incipient tradition in wild chimpanzees


The adoption of a new form of tool use has been observed to spread along social-network pathways in a chimpanzee community. The finding offers the first direct evidence of cultural diffusion in these animals in the wild.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Tools and trends.

A: Catherine Hobaiter/B: Edwin Van Leeuwen


  1. Hoppitt, W. & Laland, K. N. Social Learning: An Introduction to Mechanisms, Methods, and Models (Princeton Univ. Press, 2013).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  2. Whiten, A. Nature 437, 52–55 (2005).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Nishida, T., Zamma, K., Matsusaka, T., Inaba, A. & McGrew, W. C. Chimpanzee Behavior in the Wild: An Audio-Visual Encylopedia (Springer, 2010).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  4. Boesch, C. Wild Cultures: A Comparison between Chimpanzee and Human Cultures (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2012).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  5. Hobaiter, C., Poisot, T., Zuberbühler, K., Hoppitt, W. & Gruber, T. PLoS Biol. 12, e1001960 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Allen, J., Weinrich, M., Hoppitt, W. & Rendell, L. Science 340, 485–488 (2013).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Whiten, A. & Mesoudi, A. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 363, 3477–3488 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. van de Waal, E., Borgeaud, C. & Whiten, A. Science 340, 483–485 (2013).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. van Leeuwen, E. J. C., Cronin, K. A. & Haun, D. B. M. Anim. Cogn. (2014).

  10. O'Malley, R. C., Wallauer, W., Murray, C. M. & Goodall, J. Curr. Anthropol. 53, 650–663 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Luncz, L. V. & Boesch, C. Am. J. Primatol. 76, 649–657 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andrew Whiten.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Whiten, A. Incipient tradition in wild chimpanzees. Nature 514, 178–179 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing