Region once slated for logging supports tool-making chimps
Scientists have discovered that a remote rainforest in Central Africa, saved from logging by a collaboration among the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, a timber company and the Republic of Congo, is home to a population of innovative, tool-making chimpanzees that "fish" for termite dinners. According to a study in the November issue of the journal The American Naturalist, chimps living in the 100-square-mile "Goualougo Triangle" have given researchers a comprehensive snapshot of more complex tool-use among non-human large primates.
Though earlier studies have documented tool use among chimps in eastern Africa and other regions, authors Crickette Sanz of Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, WCS researcher David Morgan of Cambridge University, and Steve Gulick of Wildland Security say that the Goualougo chimps use tools in different ways than previously observed. The study, funded in large part by WCS and National Geographic, relied on remote video cameras recording chimps using heavy sticks to punch holes in termite mounds, then using a lighter stick known as a "fishing tool" to extract termites. For underground termite mounds a different stick-tool was used to perforate the nest surface, before scooping up the termites.
Stephen Sautner | EurekAlert!
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