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 Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>