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Ant Fishing in Trees: Invention and Modification of a New Tool-Use Behavior

Yamamoto, Shinya and Yamakoshi, Gen and Humle, Tatyana and Matsuzawa, Tetsuro (2011) Ant Fishing in Trees: Invention and Modification of a New Tool-Use Behavior. In: Matsuzawa, Tetsuro and Humle, Tatyana and Sugiyama, Yukimaru, eds. Chimpanzees of Bossou and Nimba. Primatology Monographs . Springer Verlag, pp. 123-130. ISBN 978-4-431-53920-9. E-ISBN 978-4-431-53921-6. (doi:10.1007/978-4-431-53921-6_13) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:43508)

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Wild chimpanzees are known to have a different repertoire of tool-use unique to each community. For example, “ant-dipping” is a tool-use behavior known in several chimpanzee communities across Africa targeted at army ants (Dorylus spp.) on the ground, whereas “ant-fishing,” which is aimed at carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.) in trees, has primarily been observed among the chimpanzees of Mahale in Tanzania. Although the evidence for differences between field sites is accumulating, we have little knowledge on how such “cultural” tool-use behaviors appear at each site and on how these are modified over time. In this chapter, we report “ant-fishing” by a young male chimpanzee at Bossou, Guinea, a behavior never before observed in this community during the past 27 years. This chimpanzee went on to modify this novel tool technology over the course of the following 2 years. At the age of 5, he employed wands of similar length to those used in ant-dipping on the ground, which is a customary tool-use behavior of this community. However, 2 years later, at the age of 7, his ant-fishing tools were shorter and the efficiency in obtaining carpenter ants was improved. This observation is a rare example of innovation in the wild and does provide some insights into the emergence and the learning process of a cultural behavior in chimpanzees.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/978-4-431-53921-6_13
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Tatyana Humle
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2014 12:31 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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