Monday, December 28, 2009

Chimpanzees Use Tools To Eat

A scientific panel for the first time observed how some chimpanzees use tools to reduce the size of the food and make them more edible, the BBC reports.

Primates of Mount Nimba in Guinea, West Africa, are using stone axes and woods to process Treculia fruit and make it easier to eat. The chimpanzees cut the fruit to make it easy to eat eatable portions of Treculia.

Kathelijne Koops, a doctoral student, and Professor William McGrew, researchers from the Leverhulme Center for Human Evolution Studies from the University of Cambridge in the UK conducted the study. They observed a group of chimps living in theChimpanzees use tools to process food wild in the forests of Mount Nimba.

African chimpanzees greatly vary in their usage of tools used for preparing their daily food. Some groups use stones as hammers and stone anvils to break the shells of nuts. Other chimpanzee groups use branches to catch termites, researchers say.

To break the shell of the nuts the chimpanzees from Bossou area, a village in Guinea, used hammers and anvils. They even used weights to level the anvil and make it more efficient for their needs, said Koop, the Ph.D. student involved in this research.

The BBC report, published in the Spanish language version of the service notes that this is the first time that the scientists have found chimpanzees using tools to eat. Furthermore, this is the first time that the researchers learn chimpanzees using different types of tools to achieve the same results.

Thus, the scientists conclude that the learning in chimpanzees is cultural and related to their location.

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