AUG 09, 2016 10:51 AM PDT

Study Shows Chimpanzees Who Travel Will Use Tools to Gather Food

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Humans have been using tools for thousands of years; we’ve found ways to craft them out of the elements that make up our environment. But humans aren’t the only ones.
 
Chimpanzees have similar qualities in terms of intelligence and resourcefulness, and will utilize tools to get their jobs done, especially when hunger is on the line.
 

A monkey using what appears to be a rock as a tool.

 Image Credit: Tiago Falótico

Following a seven-year study that involved a collaboration between researchers at the University of Neuchâtel and the University of Geneva, it was found that chimpanzees who do more travelling for food are more likely to pick up a tool to help them, whether it’s a stick, log, or even a stone.
 
The study went on to see what kinds of tools the chimpanzees were interested in, and more importantly, the motivating factor that made chimpanzees want to use tools to help them. The findings are published in the journal eLife.
 
“We analyzed seven years of field experiments where chimpanzees had to try to extract honey enclosed in a wooden log (commonly called ‘honey-trap experiment’),” explained Thibaud Gruber, the study's first author. “We wanted to understand what external factors explained their motivation to participate in this experiment.”
 
For other primate species, being lazy and not moving around as much meant not having as much interest in tool usage. Of course, by limiting their access to ripe fruits, it was found that they would have more interest in using something in their vicinity of reach as a tool when they had to go exploring to find food.

"We didn't expect travel to be that important, and were surprised that it had an even greater influence than if they fed less on their preferred food of ripe fruits," says Gruber.

Without a doubt, those that had to do more travelling had more interest in using tools. From an evolutionary standpoint, being out and about in unfamiliar territory means you want to have the upper edge if threats arise, and tools also help reduce the workload when you're already using energy to move around.
 
Early humans may have evolved in a similar fashion, as hunter-gatherers were far more likely to be carrying tools to help them on their quest for hunting for food than other classes of humans in the day.
 
Humans and monkeys aren’t the only animals that are known to carry tools to help them; even birds, which are believed to be intelligent creatures, have been noted to use tools to help them scavenge food from the wild surroundings.
 
Source: EurekAlert, Science Daily

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 01, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 01, 2019
Polar Bear Fights Are Sometimes for Fun, Other Times to the Death
Polar bears have a reputation as being one of the top predators in the Arctic, and with that in mind, it should come as no surprise to anyone that males ca...
DEC 08, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 08, 2019
What's Inside a Pufferfish May Surprise You
Pufferfish are among one of the most easily discernable fish in the ocean, especially when inflated. But do you know how these little fish are able to expa...
DEC 22, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 22, 2019
Ever Wonder What Happens Inside a Clam's Shell?
Most people think of clams as a gooey blob inside of a two-piece shell, but there’s actually a lot more going on inside that shell that you might com...
JAN 07, 2020
Microbiology
JAN 07, 2020
The Unusual Microbiomes of Bats and Birds
Humans might have a critical dependence on the microbes in their guts, but it seems that not all animals do....
JAN 21, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 21, 2020
Scientists Assess GHG Emissions Related to Palm Oil Land Conversion
Palm oil production remains problematic in several ways, and a new study from researchers at the University of Nottingham has quantified one of these probl...
FEB 17, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 17, 2020
How a Spider Builds its Web
Just about everyone has seen a spider web at some point in their life, but have you ever wondered how a spider builds such a strong and perfect web? The pr...
Loading Comments...