OCT 24, 2016 08:40 AM PDT

Chimpanzee Mother Video Taped Teaching Offspring to Use Tools

Scientists know that a variety of animal species actually use tools, just like we do, to make life easier, but it’s not often that you get to capture these animals in the act of teaching one another to use said tools.

Chimpanzees use tools to look for food.

Chimpanzees are just one of these types of animals, and for the first time, scientists have managed to capture the rare moments of a mother teaching her offspring how to use one on video using camera hidden in the trees. Their findings have been published in the journal Scientific Reports.
In what appears to be a lengthy tool for excavating termites out of a tight space, a plant stem has been re-purposed and the mother is showing her offspring how to use it to probe for termites for food.
Throught the mother chimpanzee’s teachings, it’s believed the offspring will learn not only how to use the tool, but also the kinds of materials needed to make it, as well as how to make it.
During the learning process, the offspring may actually harm or destroy the tool that the mother has created, so it’s entirely possible that the mother may lose her tool entirely during the transfer to her young.
“Tool transfers are costly for mothers, whose ability to forage for termites is reduced, but are beneficial for offspring, who gain increased opportunity to learn tool skills and gather termites,” said study lead author Stephanie Musgrave. “This is the first such evidence satisfying these criteria for teaching in wild apes.”
In some cases, mothers will have more than one tool so they don’t lose their own, or they will try to split their existing tool in half (lengthwise) so that they still have something left if the offspring ruins their half.
More importantly, tool usage probably varies depending on the region the chimpanzees are native to. Not all regions around the world have the same kinds of plants available, so they might need to improvise by using other, similar plants as tools. That said, it’s believed some groups of chimpanzees may learn differently and use different kinds of tools for different purposes before passing their knowledge down to their offspring.
“Studying how young chimpanzees learn the tool skills particular to their group helps us to understand the evolutionary origins of culture and technology and to clarify how human cultural abilities are similar to or different from those of our closest living relatives,” Musgrave said.

It’s certainly interesting to see this kind of behavior, as it outlines the intelligence of other animal species that often get written off by those who says animals are just animals.
Source: Washington University in St. Louis

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
OCT 19, 2019
Plants & Animals
OCT 19, 2019
Crows Are Incredibly Smart Birds
Many people don’t realize it, but animals can be particularly intelligent when it comes to matters of problem-solving. In this video, we see a lone c...
OCT 19, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
OCT 19, 2019
How the Kava Plant Creates Medicinal Compounds
Nature has given us some of our best medicines; it's thought that as many as half the drugs we used are derived from natural products....
OCT 19, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
OCT 19, 2019
Epigenetics Used to Determine the Age of Dolphins
Until recently, testing the age of dolphin involved extract a tooth, sawing it in half, and then counting the layers within like rings in a tree. An expens...
OCT 19, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
OCT 19, 2019
Presidential Candidates and Cannabis Legalization: Where do they Stand?
As medical and recreational use of cannabis expands, it has become a hot political topic. It’s no surprise to see it covered on the campaign trail. H...
OCT 19, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
OCT 19, 2019
Dolphins Lost 85 Genes to Become Aquatic
Dolphins, whales and porpoises are marine mammals; otherwise known as cetaceans. Although they live exclusively underwater nowadays, tens of millions of ye...
OCT 19, 2019
Health & Medicine
OCT 19, 2019
Medical Marijuana Allowed in California K-12 Schools
Gavin Newson, the governor of California and the leading 2016 proponent of the recreational pot legalization initiative Proposition 64, signed a bill on We...
Loading Comments...