The chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus), our next ancestor is one of the most favorized animals if it comes to behavioural science. Many traits are comparable and apart from some rare exceptions like crows, the usage and evenmore the manufacturing of tools is considered to be unique to humans and high hominides (the family of great apes: humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang utangs). Behavioural innovation is hard to observe in the wild which is the reason, that most studies are taking place with captive chimps, a source for critics, as the environment will clearly influence a beeing with such high levels of intelligence. [PubMed]
This study describes two events of tool use behaviour, categorized as “ant fishing”, which is the usage of a wand to collect carpenter-ants, not reachable without a tool. This technique, taking place in the trees, has to be separated from “ant-dipping”, which also uses a tool, but takes place on the floor. The latter is common to the described group of chimps in Bossou, Guinea, but the first has never been observed in 27 years.
A young male chimp was followed over a period of time after the firs event, where he used a tool similar to the wands, this group uses for ant-dipping. In the second event, 2 years later, the tool had been modified to better suit the situation. This is a seldom description of innovation in the wild and provides new insights into problem-solving and learning processes in non-captive chimpanzees.
Yamamoto, S., Yamakoshi, G., Humle, T., Matsuzawa, T. (2008). Invention and modification of a new tool use behavior: ant-fishing in trees by a wild chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) at Bossou, Guinea. American Journal of Primatology DOI: 10.1002/ajp.20544
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