Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Imitation and cultural transmission in apes and cetaceans

Andrew Whiten a1
a1 School of Psychology, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9JU,


Recent evidence suggests imitation is more developed in some cetaceans than the authors imply. Apart from apes, only dolphins have so far shown a grasp of what it is to imitate; moreover dolphins ape humans more clearly than do apes. Why have such abilities not been associated with the kind of progressive cultural complexity characteristic of humans?