Sweet tooth drives chimps to develop own brand of toolkits

May 31st, 2009 - 2:12 pm ICT by ANI  

London, May 31 (ANI): Chimps are so nuts about honey that, even though they’ve no access to a hardware store, they construct their own brand of toolkits when foraging for snacks from beehives, a new study has found.

A research team, which was led by Christophe Boesch of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, studied chimps living in Loango National Park in Gabon.

From analyses, they found that the chimps built and used five different types of tools to help them find beehives and extract honey, reports new Scientist.

The tools included - thin, straight sticks to probe the ground for buried nests; thick, blunt-ended pounders to break open beehive entrances; thinner lever-like enlargers to break down walls within the hive; collectors with frayed ends to dip honey from the opened hive and bark spoons to scoop it out.

A few tools even appeared to have two uses, with enlargers at one end and collectors at the other.

While probing for underground hives required the chimps to conceive of the existence of unseen objects, the mental skills needed for the act and the tasks that follow rival those displayed by humans in the early Stone Age, says Boesch.

The study has been published in the Journal of Human Evolution. (ANI)

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