Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 879-901

First online:

Social learning and teaching in chimpanzees

  • Richard MooreAffiliated withDepartment of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Email author 

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There is increasing evidence that some behavioural differences between groups of chimpanzees can be attributed neither to genetic nor to ecological variation. Such differences are likely to be maintained by social learning. While humans teach their offspring, and acquire cultural traits through imitative learning, there is little evidence of such behaviours in chimpanzees. However, by appealing only to incremental changes in motivation, attention and attention-soliciting behaviour, and without expensive changes in cognition, we can hypothesise the possible emergence of imitation and pedagogy in evolutionary history.


Chimpanzees Social learning Imitation Pedagogy