Monday, February 20, 2006

Scientists capture chimpanzees on camera using a "tool kit"

Scientists have captured chimpanzees on camera using a "tool kit" to break into a termite mound.

The remarkable film shows one chimp using its feet to push a thick stick into the termite nest, like a gardener digging up potatoes.

Then the same animal takes another tool, a slender stem with a frayed end, and inserts it into the hole to fish out the insects.

Chimps have been observed before cracking nuts with stones and catching ants and termites with twigs and leaves.

But this is the first recorded example of the apes going equipped with multiple tools.

The human-like antics of the chimpanzees is the latest example of what scientists call "culture" in animals.

Culture is defined as a traditional behaviour that is learned within a group and passed between individuals and down generations.

Story here.

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