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Chimps use tools to cut up their food

London, Fri, 25 Dec 2009 ANI

London, Dec 25 (ANI): Chimps from Nimba Mountains of Guinea, Africa, use stone and wooden cleavers along with stone anvils to cut up Treculia fruits.


PhD student Kathelijne Koops and Professor William McGrew of the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge, UK, observed a group of apes living in the Nimba Mountains.


Koops study was about the use of basic technology by chimps.


"Chimpanzees across Africa vary greatly in the types of tools they use to obtain food. Some groups use stones as hammers and anvils to crack open nuts, whereas others use twigs to fish for termites," the BBC quoted her, as saying.


Koops continued: "For example, nut-cracking in the Bossou chimpanzee community in Guinea involves the use of a movable hammer and anvil, and sometimes the additional use of stabilising wedges to make the anvil more level and so more efficient.


"Termite fishing in some chimpanzee communities in the Republic of Congo involves the use of a tool set, i.e. different tool components used sequentially to achieve the same goal.


"These chimpanzees were found to deliberately modify termite fishing probes by creating a brush-end, before using them to fish for termites."


Koops worked with Prof McGrew and Prof Tetsuro Matsuzawa of the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University in Japan to find another surprising and previously unrecorded use of tools by the apes.


She found stones and rocks used by chimps to shred Treculia fruits into smaller pieces.


Treculia fruit is as big as a volleyball and can weigh up to 8.5kg.


Chimps cannot bite into them and thus have to use tools for cutting them up.


Koops said this is the first time when apes were found using a pounding tool technology to reduce food to small pieces.


"And it's the first time wild chimpanzees have been found to use two distinct types of percussive technology, i.e. movable cleavers versus a non-movable anvil, to achieve the same goal," she added.


The observations have appeared in the journal Primates. (ANI)


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