Female chimps hunt with tools more than males

New York, April 16:

Chimpanzees living in savanna woodlands at Fongoli in Senegal use tools to hunt their prey and females are more inclined to use them than males, says a new research.

pic: wildchimpanzees.org
pic: wildchimpanzees.org

The savanna chimps at Fongoli are the only non-human population to consistently hunt prey with tools, the researchers noted. Jill Pruetz, National Geographic Emerging Explorer, first reported savanna chimps were using tools to hunt prey in 2007.

That alone was significant but what also stood out to Pruetz was the fact that female chimps were the ones predominantly hunting with tools.

It was a point some dismissed or criticised because of the small sample size, but the finding motivated the Iowa State University anthropology professor to learn more.

In the years following, Pruetz and her research team have documented more than 300 tool-assisted hunts.

They found that generally, adult male chimps are the main hunters and capture prey by hand. The researchers observed both male and female chimps using tools, but more than half of the hunts — 175 compared to 130 — were by females.

“It’s just another example of diversity in chimp behaviour that we keep finding the longer we study wild chimps,” Pruetz said.

Both male and female chimps primarily pursued galagos, or bush babies, in tool-assisted hunts. The chimps used a spear-like tool to jab at the animal hiding in tree cavities, Pruetz said.

Their results appeared in the journal Royal Society Open Science. (IANS)

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