Social complexity and cultural transmission of dialects in killer whales

Social complexity and cultural transmission of dialects in killer whales Many social animals have cultural traditions that may shape their societies while the social structure can in turn influence how the culture is acquired. Killer whales possess culturally transmitted dialects. The divergence of dialects was thought to occur simultaneously and consistently with the gradual fission of matrilines. In this paper we compare the social associations across matrilineal units, Bayesian phylogeny of dialects and similarity of particular syllables to test whether dialects affect social structure and whether associations or common origin define similarity of call types. We found that neither phylogeny of dialects nor similarity of syllables was correlated to associations between matrilineal units, but similarity of syllables was correlated to phylogeny of dialects for four of the six syllables analysed. The complexity and fluidity of social ties between matrilineal units and the variation in cultural transmission patterns produce a complex relationship between the social network and the socially learned vocalizations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Behaviour Brill

Social complexity and cultural transmission of dialects in killer whales

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright 2016 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Subject
Regular articles
ISSN
0005-7959
eISSN
1568-539X
DOI
10.1163/1568539X-00003417
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Many social animals have cultural traditions that may shape their societies while the social structure can in turn influence how the culture is acquired. Killer whales possess culturally transmitted dialects. The divergence of dialects was thought to occur simultaneously and consistently with the gradual fission of matrilines. In this paper we compare the social associations across matrilineal units, Bayesian phylogeny of dialects and similarity of particular syllables to test whether dialects affect social structure and whether associations or common origin define similarity of call types. We found that neither phylogeny of dialects nor similarity of syllables was correlated to associations between matrilineal units, but similarity of syllables was correlated to phylogeny of dialects for four of the six syllables analysed. The complexity and fluidity of social ties between matrilineal units and the variation in cultural transmission patterns produce a complex relationship between the social network and the socially learned vocalizations.

Journal

BehaviourBrill

Published: Dec 19, 2016

Keywords: killer whale; social structure; cultural transmission; dialect

References

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