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 cm long, w…

God is tools

God and spirit are controversial discussions in science and even mythology will have no place among naturalists and for Darwinians. Apparently this has been final that mythology is a delusional, mystical and superstitious concept that cannot be empirically proven in the world of science.

Most scientists and science activists have agreed that god is nonsense, delusional and cannot be accommodated in the theory of evolution. This opinion can be understood methodologically and I agree with the sentences. But so many behaviors are very real and occur in the field.


I am a fieldman who goes to the wild every day, along rice fields and forests to watch insects to plants, talk to people especially in villages, visit Hindu-Buddhist temples built in the 8th century, witnessing busyness in mosques, temples and churches.

I feel something is missing in the view of naturalists and Darwinians. There are short moments that are missed in analyzes in the timeline of human evolution. These little moment…

Crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis)

Crab-eating macaque or long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) is a primate species in Cercopithecidae, brown with a lighter color abdomen and whitish hair on the face, polygamy, genome size 2946.84 Mb, 21 pairs of chromosomes, highly adaptive and wild animals that are able to follow human civilization.

M. fascicularis has at least 10 recorded subspecies: Dark-crowned long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis ssp. atriceps), Burmese long-talied macaque (Macaca fascicularis ssp. aureus), Con Song long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis ssp. condorensisis).



Common long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis ssp. fascicularis), Simeulue long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis ssp. fuscus), Kemujan long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis ssp. karimondjawae), Lasia long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis ssp. lasiae)

Philippine long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis ssp. philippensis), Maratua long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis ssp. tua), Nicobar crabeating macaque (Macaca fascic…

Chayote (Sechium edule)

Labu siam or jipang or mirliton squash or chayote (Sechium edule) is a plant species in Cucurbitaceae, growing vines and generally upwards, widely planted as food and a source of vitamin C where fresh fruit for salads or lightly cooked to remove sap.

S. edule grows on the ground or climbs large trees up to 12 m high, stems are green, not woody and are usually cultivated anywhere as long as they have support. The ends of the stems are threaded to reach support or link themselves.


The leaves are oval, 10-25 cm wide, have many angles as the bones depend on variety and the surface has hair. Male flowers in groups and solitary female flowers, yellowish green, four or five petals and pistils in the middle.

The fruit hangs on the stem, is irregular in egg shape, slightly flattened and has rough wrinkles, 10-20 cm long, green or yellow, has a thin skin, white insides with a single hole, large and flat. Some varieties have thorny skin.

The fruit is boiled briefly to remove sap and eaten for a v…

Barbados lily (Hippeastrum puniceum)

Barbados lily or amaryllis lily (Hippeastrum puniceum) is a species of perennial flowering plant in Amaryllidaceae, grows in the tropics, has 4-6 leaves, bright green, 30-60 cm long and 2.5-3 cm wide, white waxed, tubular and shrink at the ends.

H. puniceum has flowers that grow in the umbel at the end of the stalk which has a height of 40-60 cm and stands tall with a pointed tip at the top. The umbel has lanceolate green bracts at its base. Each stalk has one or two ovaries.


Orange-red petal with yellow or pale base. The two lower tepals are much narrower than lateral. About five white stamens emerge from the end of the tube in the middle of the crown.

A single flower will bloom to face north or south with a curved base where the horizontal flower faces are parallel to the ground, while the stems that have two flowers will bloom to face north and others to the south.

Wild barbados lilies grow in forests, yard, roadside and neglected lands. This plant likes sandy, gravel and rocky soil…