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Keywords:

  • chimpanzees;
  • culture;
  • tool use;
  • group-specific traits;
  • immigration

The notion of animal culture has been well established mainly through research aiming at uncovering differences between populations. In chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus), cultural diversity has even been found in neighboring communities, where differences were observed despite frequent immigration of individuals. Female chimpanzees transfer at the onset of sexual maturity at an age, when the behavioral repertoire is fully formed. With immigrating females, behavioral variety enters the group. Little is known about the diversity and the longevity of cultural traits within a community. This study is building on previous findings of differences in hammer selection when nut cracking between neighboring communities despite similar ecological conditions. We now further investigated the diversity and maintenance of cultural traits within one chimpanzee community and were able to show high levels of uniformity in group-specific behavior. Fidelity to the behavior pattern did not vary between dispersing females and philopatric males. Furthermore, group-specific tool selection remained similar over a period of 25 years. Additionally, we present a study case on how one newly immigrant female progressively behaved more similar to her new group, suggesting that the high level of similarity in behavior is actively adopted by group members possibly even when originally expressing the behavior in another form. Taken together, our data support a cultural transmission process in adult chimpanzees, which leads to persisting cultural behavior of one community over time. Am. J. Primatol. 76:649–657, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.