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Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Publication details for Dr Jeremy Kendal

Day, R.L., Kendal, J.R. & Laland, K.N. (2001). Validating cultural transmission in Cetaceans. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24(2): 330-331.

Author(s) from Durham


The evidence of high cognitive abilities in cetaceans does not stand up to close scrutiny under the standards established by laboratory researchers. This is likely to lead to a sterile debate between laboratory and field researchers unless fresh ways of taking the debate forward are found. A few suggestions as to how to do this are proposed. As the evidence presented for culture in cetaceans is largely a byproduct of other behavioural studies, we welcome Rendell and Whitehead’s synthesis which rightly highlights the fact that whales and dolphins have been neglected by those studying animal social learning.


Commentary upon:
Culture in Whales and Dolphins. 2001. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24: 309-382. Rendell L. & Whitehead H.