Abstract: Japanese workers have studied social acquisition patterns of new feeding habits in Macaca fuscata which they have termed precultural. The present study investigates the same phenomenon in the chacma baboon and the vervet monkey in their natural habitat. The questions addressed are: (1) How a new feeding habit enters a troop and by which age and sex category, also how it is propagated? (2) When individuals are permitted with a choice between palatable and unpalatable food, can they learn by demonstration only or do they have to pass through a direct learning process? (3) Can the results from the above questions be explained by social parameters such as the social structure of the individual species? It was found that juvenile baboons discover new food and that after the discovery propagation is instantaneous. In vervets discovery is random among the age classes and propagation is slow and takes place through certain 'pivot' individuals. Both species fail to learn about palatability by demonstration but have to go through a direct learning process. This contrasts strongly with the forest baboon Mandrillus sphinx that have been shown to learn by demonstration. Socially, baboon juveniles stay closer to each other than the adults who force them to live at the periphery of the troop. Vervets again forage without precise sub-group formation. The link between social and cultural propagation and social structure is discussed on the basis of these findings.