Research into differences between chimpanzees and bonobos in ‘preparation’ for tool use reveals intriguing sex bias in object manipulation in young chimpanzees – one that is partly mirrored in human children.
First evidence for a species difference in the innate predisposition for tool use in our closest evolutionary cousins could provide insight into how humans became the ultimate tool-using ape.
When food is scarce, tool use among non-human primates does not increase. This counterintuitive finding leads researchers to suggest that the driving force behind tool use is ecological opportunity – and that the environment shapes development of culture.
New research shows that chimpanzees search for the right tools from a key plant species when preparing to ‘ant dip’ - a crafty technique enabling them to feast on army ants without getting bitten. The study shows that army ants are not a poor substitute for preferred foods, but a staple part of chimpanzee diets.