Trend Setters, Too

March 13, 2015 10:06 PM

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Trend Setters, Too

We expect words like “culture” and “technology” to appear in history textbooks or sociology articles, in newspapers or Silicon Valley prospectuses. But those words also appear regularly in animal-behavior journals—and, increasingly, in ways that would be familiar to humans who read fashion magazines and follow fads.

The “culture” concept got jump-started in primatology in the 1940s, with reports of an all-time primate genius, a Japanese macaque monkey named Imo. Her troop lived near a beach frequented by tourists who fed them, and she invented a technique for washing and salting potatoes by dipping them into se...

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