New evidence for orangutan culture

An international collaboration of primatologists has gleaned evidence from decades of observations of orangutans that the apes show behaviors that are culturally based.
The scientists’ findings push back the origins of culturally transmitted behavior to 14 million years ago, when orangutans first evolved from their more primitive primate ancestors. Previous evidence for cultural transmission in chimpanzees suggested an origin of cultural traits 7 million years ago. The researchers also warn that illegal logging and other habitat destruction in the forests of Sumatra and Borneo could not only threaten further research into the earliest origins of culture, but continue the dangerous decline in orangutan populations.