Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

In chimpanzees, hunting and meat-eating is a man’s business

26.03.2013
Max Planck researchers find stable isotope evidence of meat eating and hunting specialization in adult male chimpanzees

Observations of hunting and meat eating in our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, suggest that regular inclusion of meat in the diet is not a characteristic unique to Homo. Wild chimpanzees are known to consume vertebrate meat, but its actual dietary contribution is often unknown.


Gifted adult male hunter Brutus holds out meat for the less successful, and uninterested, hunter Kendo while a female looks on. © MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology/Christophe Boesch

Constraints on continual direct observation throughout the entire hunting season mean that behavioural observations are limited in their ability to accurately quantify meat consumption. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has now compared stable isotope data of wild chimpanzee hair keratin and bone collagen with behavioural observations and found that, in chimpanzees, hunting and meat-eating is male-dominated. These new results support previous behavioural observations of chimpanzees in Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire.

Researchers analysed a wide range of environmental samples from Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire, to construct an isotopic baseline of the chimpanzee habitat. These environmental samples also included components of the chimpanzees’ diet, such as fruits and seasonal supplements of nuts, ants and termites, and colobus monkey.

Subsequently, the researchers determined the nitrogen isotope values for male and female chimpanzee bone collagen and hair keratin. The result: Meat eating among some of the male chimpanzees is significant enough to result in a marked isotope signal detectable on a short-term basis in their hair keratin and long-term in their bone collagen. “Although both adult males and females, as well as juveniles, derive their dietary protein largely from daily fruit and seasonal nut consumption, our data indicate that some adult males also derive a large amount of dietary protein from hunted meat”, says Geraldine Fahy of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

This result supports behavioural observations on hunting prowess and meat consumption gathered by Christophe Boesch and his team in the Taï National Park over a 30-year period. “Our results reinforce behavioural observations of male-dominated hunting and meat eating in adult Taï chimpanzees, suggesting that sex differences in food acquisition and consumption may have persisted throughout hominin evolution, rather than being a recent development in the human lineage”, says Christophe Boesch, who directs the Department of Primatology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

“The pattern observed in chimpanzees is quite different from that of recent hunter-gatherers where the game is distributed among the whole group. Comparisons between humans and our closest relatives are crucial to understanding the origins of hunting and meat sharing in the first hominins”, adds Jean-Jacques Hublin, head of the Department of Human Evolution, where the isotopic measurements were conducted.

Contact

Geraldine Fahy,
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Phone: +49 341 3550-254
Email: geraldine_fahy@­eva.mpg.de
Sandra Jacob,
Press and Public Relations
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Phone: +49 341 3550-122
Fax: +49 341 3550-119
Email: jacob@­eva.mpg.de

Original publication
Geraldine E. Fahy, Michael Richards, Julia Riedel, Jean-Jacques Hublin, and Christophe Boesch
Stable isotope evidence of meat eating and hunting specialization in adult male chimpanzees

PNAS, Early Online Edition, 25 March 2013

Geraldine Fahy | Max-Planck-Institute
Further information:
http://www.mpg.de/7056281/chimpanzees-hunting

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>