Sophie Berdugo

sophie berdugo


DPhil Anthropology

Keble College

Keywords: chimpanzee tool use, social learning, hominin evolution

I am a fourth year DPhil student under the supervision of Professor Emma Cohen and Professor Susana Carvalho. Broadly, I am interested in the factors mediating the efficiency of tool-use in chimpanzees. I am undertaking a longitudinal observational analysis using 26 years of archival video footage of the wild chimpanzee community in Bossou, Guinea (West Africa), to investigate role of social learning in the transmission of material culture. I am following the development of 13 mother-infant dyads from the infant's critical learning period to adulthood to assess variation in the ontogeny of the nut-cracking behaviour, and whether divergent learning experiences effect the adult nut-cracking efficiency. This research will shed light on the role of individual and social learning in the transmission of material culture, and potentially contribute to our understanding of early hominin cultural evolution, specifically the role of individual variation in social learning in shaping evolutionary trajectories.

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