EDITORS NOTE – Academics celebrate cultural differences in chimps. In humans, not so much.
When Jane Goodall first witnessed chimpanzees using sticks to “fish” for termites, she toppled the notion that only humans use tools. Now, a new study has shown groups of chimps fish using their own cultural techniques, which they pass down to successive generations,
New Scientist reports. Researchers used camera traps to monitor the fishing behavior of 10 chimp communities over 8 years. Just as people adapt their tools—chopsticks are used differently across Asia, for example—scientists identified 38 different factors that can vary between chimpanzee groups, including the flexibility of the stick, the posture chimps assumed while fishing, and whether they used one or both hands while maneuvering the stick (see video, above). In each instance, individuals from the same group were more likely to use similar techniques, the team reports this week in Nature Human Behaviour.
The findings, the team says, highlight yet another instance in which chimp societies mirror our own.
Here’s a chimp fishing for termites …