Video_1_First Evidence of Chimpanzee Extractive Tool Use in Cantanhez, Guinea-Bissau: Cross-Community Variation in Honey Dipping.mp4 (9.45 MB)
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Video_1_First Evidence of Chimpanzee Extractive Tool Use in Cantanhez, Guinea-Bissau: Cross-Community Variation in Honey Dipping.mp4

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posted on 26.03.2021, 04:06 by Joana Bessa, Kimberley Hockings, Dora Biro

Wild chimpanzee tool use is highly diverse and, in many cases, exhibits cultural variation: tool-use behaviours and techniques differ between communities and are passed down generations through social learning. Honey dipping – the use of sticks or leaves to extract honey from hives – has been identified across the whole species’ range. Nonetheless, there seems to be marked variation in honey dipping at a species level, with most descriptions originating from central Africa, and involving the use of complex tool sets, or even multifunctional tools. In West Africa, while honey consumption is common, in most cases tools are not used. We document, for the first time, the use of honey dipping tools in unhabituated chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) communities at Cantanhez National Park (CNP), Guinea-Bissau. Over a 23-month period we employed a combination of direct (camera traps, n = 1944 camera trap days) and indirect (1000km of reconnaissance walks, collection of abandoned tools) methods to study four neighbouring communities in central CNP. Fluid dipping tools were found in three of the four communities; here we analyse 204 individual stick tools from the 70 tool-use ateliers found. In addition to documenting individual tool dimensions and raw materials, we adopt methods from primate archaeology to describe the typology of different tools based on use-wear patterns. We describe differences in tools used for different honey types, between communities, and tools and tool kits that show an unexpected degree of complexity. Our data also suggest the use of tool sets, i.e., tools with different functions used sequentially toward the same goal; as well as possible multifunction tools (pounding and dipping), never before described for western chimpanzees. Our study fills gaps in our knowledge of the wild chimpanzee cultural repertoire and highlights how chimpanzee tool manufacture and use can vary even at local scales.

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