BEHAVIOURAL PATTERNS IN CHIMPANZEES

With increasing study of wild chimpanzees, researchers have noticed that different populations of chimpanzees exhibit different behaviors, not always associated with factors in their environment. Like humans, chimpanzees show cultural diversity, with chimps living in different parts of Africa developing distinct customs i.e. different communities will show different methods of response for the same observed in only one population.

NUT CRACKING

In West Africa, chimpanzees at several locations use wood or stone tools to crack nuts to feed on the kernels. In East Africa, although nuts are available, chimps don’t eat them.

GROOMING

Some chimps inspect each other for parasites, flick the bugs on to leaves, then inspect or kill them. However their neighbors show quite different behaviors, simply squashing the parasites on their forearms.

TERMITE FISHING

In Gombe National Park in Tanzania, termite mounds of red earth rise 2 meters high and shelter millions of the almond-colored insects. Chimpanzees pore over the mounds, scratching at plugged tunnels until they find portals into the mound interior. They will gently insert a twig or blade of grass into a tunnel until the soldier termite’s latch onto the tools with their powerful mandibles, and then they’ll withdraw the probe from the mound. With dozens of soldier and worker termites clinging ferociously to the twig, the chimpanzee draws the stick between her lips and reaps a nutritious bounty.

HUNTING

There is a culture of hunting in each forest as well. At Gombe, for instance, chimpanzees relish wild pigs and piglets in addition to monkeys and small antelope. At Tai in West Africa, wild pigs are ignored even when they stroll in front of a hunting party.

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