MNN Galleries

7 cultured animals that share knowledge

By: Bryan Nelson on May 9, 2011, 11:08 a.m.
guppy in water

Photo: judhi/Flickr

6 of 9


The tiny guppy displays evidence of cultural transmission. Guppies are known for their diverse mating behaviors, whereby females tend to copy other females in choosing their preferred mate. If one female likes a particular mate, then other females will take notice. In other words, through the power of imitation, guppy mating behavior is cultural in that mate preference can be transmitted across a population uniquely. (By comparison, the behavior ought to be familiar to anyone who has a teenager.)