Public exhibitions:

Animal cultures: Nature's second inheritance system

Animal cultures: Nature's second inheritance system. Catherine Hobaiter

The team

From the University of St Andrews, University of Exeter, Newcastle University and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Edinburgh Zoo:

The science behind the exhibit

It’s easy to think that human culture completely separates our species from others. Our BBSRC-sponsored research has instead revealed cultural processes of varying complexity in primates, birds and fish. Observational and experimental studies have identified cultural differences across different wild populations and shown migrating individuals conforming to local group habits. Controlled experiments seeded foraging techniques in animal groups and mapped the spread of these techniques, creating local traditions. Our discoveries highlight a potent ‘second inheritance system’ in animals that complements genetics. This illuminates human cultural evolution, and has implications in areas as varied as child development, robotics, welfare and conservation.

What to expect


  Culture in Meerkats

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News and updates

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Project website:

Animal cultures: Culture Evolves


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