Nutty Chimps

Primatologists studying chimpanzees frequently discuss types of chimps using forest objects as tools, with probably the most famous examples being their utilization of rocks to hack nuts. It-me is considered a type of culture, since there are regional variations inside it and since youthful chimps learn how to make use of the tools in the adults.

For any lengthy time, the “nut-cracking culture” had only been present in chimp troupes in Western Africa, particularly west from the river N’Zo-Sassandra within the Ivory Coast. It had been believed that the forest would be a barrier, stopping the understanding distributing to chimp groups further East. However, research printed within the journal Current Biology has overturned this concept.

The scientific paper, by Bethan Morgan and Ekwoge Abwe, reports nut cracking behavior within the endangered chimpanzee subspecies, Pan troglodytes vellerosus, that is limited to Western Cameroon and areas of Nigeria: some 1700km East from the N’Zo-Sassandra river. Within the study, conducted in Cameroon’s Ebo forest, they observed 3 adult chimps relaxing in the branches from the “Tigerwood”, or “Gabon nut” tree and taking advantage of rocks to hack the nuts.

The tree has red or eco-friendly colored nuts, that are similar in size and shape to walnuts and also have extremely tough shells. Among the chimps, realizing he had been viewed, dropped his tool: a grape-fruit sized lump of quarta movement: down because he fled and also the researchers found other discarded rocks and nut shells around the surrounding forest floor.

The truth that this behavior has been discovered inside a population to date taken off others overturns existing knowledge and shows that the nut-cracking behavior has come to light individually in lots of chimp populations throughout Africa. Alternatively, it might be an old pan-African chimp “culture” that’s been lost through the populations between Ebo forest and also the N’Zo-Sassandra river. Bethan Morgan and Ekwoge Abwe’s study of chimpanzees was printed in Volume 16 (No16) from the journal Current Biology.

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