Skip to main content

Wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) exploit tortoises (Kinixys erosa) via percussive technology

Wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) eat tortoises (Kinixys erosa) after cracking them open against tree trunks. An international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and the University of Osnabrück, Germany, have observed wild chimpanzees in the Loango National Park, Gabon, eating tortoises.

They describe the first observations of this potentially cultural behavior where chimpanzees hit tortoises against tree trunks until the tortoises’ shells break open and then feed on the meat.

Dlium Wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) exploit tortoises (Kinixys erosa) via percussive technology

"We have known for decades that chimpanzees feed on meat from a variety of animal species, but until now the consumption of reptiles has not been observed," says Tobias Deschner, a primatologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

"What is particularly interesting is that they use a percussive technique that they normally employ to open hard-shelled fruits to gain access to meat of an animal that is almost inaccessible for any other predator," Deschner says.

The researchers studied the behaviour of chimpanzees of the newly habituated Rekambo community. They observed 38 prey events by ten different chimpanzees in the dry season, a period when other preferred food such as fruits is abundant.

"Sometimes, younger animals or females were unable to crack open the tortoise on their own. They then regularly handed the tortoise over to a stronger male who cracked the tortoise’s shell open and shared the meat with all other individuals present", says Simone Pika, a cognitive scientist at the University of Osnabrück.

There was one exceptional case in which an adult male, who was on his own, cracked a tortoise, ate half of it up while sitting in a tree and then tucked the rest of it in a tree fork. He climbed down, built his nest in a nearby tree and came back the next morning to retrieve the leftovers and continue to feast on them for breakfast.

"This indicates that chimpanzees may plan for the future. The ability to plan for a future need, such as for instance hunger, has so far only been shown in non-human animals in experimental and/or captive settings," says Pika.



"Many scholars still believe that future-oriented cognition is a uniquely human ability. Our findings thus suggest that even after decades of research, we have not yet grasped the full complexity of chimpanzees’ intelligence and flexibility," Pika says.

"Wild chimpanzee behaviour has been studied now for more than 50 years and at more than ten long-term field sites all across tropical Africa. It is fascinating that we can still discover completely new facets of the behavioural repertoire of this species as soon as we start studying a new population," Deschner adds.

"As one of our closest living relatives, the study of chimpanzee behaviour is a window into our own history and evolution," says Pika.

"To prevent this window from closing once and for all, we need to do whatever we can to secure the survival of these fascinating animals in their natural habitats across Africa," concludes Deschner.

Journal : Simone Pika et al. Wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) exploit tortoises (Kinixys erosa) via percussive technology, Scientific Reports, 23 May 2019, DOI:10.1038/s41598-019-43301-8

Comments

Popular

Salak (Salacca zalacca)

Salak or snake fruit ( Salacca zalacca ) is a species of palm plant in Arecaceae, dioesis, shrubs and not trunked, has many thorns, many shoots, grows into dense and strong clumps, spreads below or above the ground, often branching and 10-15 cm diameter. S. zalacca has compound leaves, pinnate and 3-7 m long. Petiole, midrib and sapling have many long thorns, thin spines and a blackish-gray color. Minor leaves have a lanceolate shape, a pointed tip, 8x85 cm and a white underside by a waxy coating. The flowers in the cob are compound, appear in the armpit of the leaf, stem, initially covered by a sheath then dry and break down like fibers. Male flowers 50-100 cm long, 4-12 cylindrical items, 7-15 cm long, reddish in the armpits of tightly arranged scales. Female flowers 20-30 cm long, stemmed long and 1-3 items. The fruit has scaly skin, is eaten and is known as a table fruit, triangular shaped rather rounded or inverted ovoid, pointed at the base and rounded at the tip, 2.5-10

Redflower ragleaf (Crassocephalum crepidioides)

Sintrong or ebolo or thickhead or redflower ragleaf ( Crassocephalum crepidioides ) are plant species in Asteraceae, terma height 25-100 cm, white fibrous roots, generally grow wild on the roadside, yard gardens or abandoned lands at altitude 200- 2500 m. C. crepidioides has erect or horizontal stems along the soil surface, vascular, soft, non-woody, shallow grooves, green, rough surface and short white hair, aromatic fragrance when squeezed. Petiole is spread on stems, tubular and eared. Single leaf, spread out, green, 8-20 cm long, 3-6 cm wide, longitudinal or round inverted eggshell with a narrow base along the stalk. Pointed tip, flat-edged or curved to pinnate, jagged rough and pointed. The top leaves are smaller and often sit. Compound flowers grow throughout the year in humps that are arranged in terminal flat panicles and androgynous. Green cuffs with orange-brown to brick-red tips, cylindrical for 13-16 mm long and 5-6 mm wide. The crown is yellow with a brownish red

Guinea grass (Panicum maximum)

Guinea grass or buffalo grass or green panic ( Panicum maximum ) is a plant species in Poaceae, annual grasses, growing upright to form clumps, strong, cultivated in all tropical and subtropical regions for very high value as fodder. P. maximum reproduces in very large pols, fibrous roots penetrate into the soil, upright stems, green, 1-1.5 m tall and have smooth cavities for diameters up to 2.5 mm. Propagation is done vegetatively and generatively. Ribbon-shaped leaves with a pointed tip, very many, built in lines, green, 40-105 cm long, 10-30 mm wide, erect, branched, a white linear bone, often covered with a layer of white wax, rough surface by hair short, dense and spread. The flower grows at the end of a long and upright stalk, open with the main axis length to more than 25 cm and the length of the bunches down to 20 cm. Grains have a size of 3x4 mm and oval. Seeds have a length of 2.25-2.50 mm and each 1 kg contains 1.2 - 1.5 million seeds. Guinea grass has two varieties. P