Thursday, October 02, 2014

Chimps with tools: Wild ape culture caught on camera

Researchers have captured the spread of a new type of tool use in a wild population of chimps.

They say this is the first clear evidence of wild chimpanzees developing a new culture.

As the team filmed the animals at a field station in Uganda, they noticed that some of them started to make a new type of leaf sponge - something the animals use to drink.

This new behaviour soon spread throughout the group.
Chimp using a leaf sponge (c) Catherine Hobaiter Leaf sponges allow wild chimps to drink from watering holes

The findings are published in the journal Plos Biology.

Lead researcher Dr Catherine Hobaiter, from the University of St Andrews, explained that chimps make and use folded up "little sponges that they dip into ponds and then suck the water out".

"We were insanely lucky," she told BBC News. "We saw two new versions of this tool use emerge in the chimps [we were watching]."


Full story here.
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