Nature: Experimental evolution of culture in wild birds

A new paper in Nature with Damien Farine and colleagues from the University of Oxford reports an experimental study in Wytham Woods, Oxford, in which arbitrary behaviours were introduced and tracked as they spread through social networks of wild great tits. The work shows that social learning can lead to the rapid establishment of stable differences within populations, a form of avian ‘culture’, and implicates conformist learning – where individuals preferentially copy the majority, as they key to this. Read the paper here.

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