Chimpanzees often use tools to extract or consume food but which tools they choose for which purpose can differ depending on where they live. In 2010, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, initiated the ‘Pan African Programme: The Cultured Chimpanzee’ to characterize and understand the differences in chimpanzee behaviours in un- and poorly studied ape populations across Africa. This is how the researchers encountered a new behavioural variant: Algae fishing with long robust tools at a temporary research site in Bakoun, Guinea.
. “The PanAf project represents a new approach to studying chimpanzees and will provide many interesting insights into chimpanzee demography and social structure, genetics, behavior and culture,” says Hjalmar Kuehl of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research. “The PanAf is only possible due to the numerous collaborations with chimpanzee researchers, field workers and national wildlife authorities in 15 countries across Africa.” Earlier this year, the collaborative network of researchers published a paper detailing a newly observed ‘chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing’ behavior.Paper. (public access) – Christophe Boesch, Ammie K. Kalan, Anthony Agbor, Mimi Arandjelovic, Paula Dieguez, Vincent Lapeyre, Hjalmar S. Kühl. Chimpanzees routinely fish for algae with tools during the dry season in Bakoun, Guinea. American Journal of Primatology, 2016; DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22613 More.
Elsewhere, chimps have been observed using stones as tools, as have birds. But nothing follows on from that. Ever.
See also: Breaking: Parrots, as well as chimps, becoming like us
Are apes entering the Stone Age?
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