Thursday, March 03, 2016

Ritualized behavior? Chimps all throw rocks at the same tree

Camera trap footage, taken with no humans present to cause a disturbance, shows one chimp after another pick up a rock and hurl it at the same tree. Rocks pile up at the foot of the tree, which starts to show signs of wear and tear. For some reason, the chimps have picked this particular tree for an accumulation of hurled rocks.

“It was unlike anything I had ever observed among wild chimpanzees,” said primatologist Ammie Kalan. Her team has discovered the behavior in four distinct populations, and it’s possible that more will turn up as they continue searching. What the rock piles mean is an open question, but the discovery of such a distinct and puzzling stone tool use is unquestionably exciting.

Full story here.

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