Journal of Ethology

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 46–61

Animal foods in the diets of wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): Why cross-cultural variation?

  • W. C. McGrew

DOI: 10.1007/BF02347830

Cite this article as:
McGrew, W.C. J. Ethol. (1983) 1: 46. doi:10.1007/BF02347830


The common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) in nature is an omnivore, i.e. it eats animals as well as plants. Six long-term field studies reveal differences in diet amongst populations of chimpanzees in east, central and west Africa. Specific comparisons can be made for social insect (ants, bees, termites) and mammalian (primates, ungulates) prey. Most of the differences can be explained in terms of environmental influences: presence or absence of prey species, abundance and distribution of prey, range of potential prey secies, competing predators, characteristics of habitat, human interference. However, other differences appear to reflect true social customs, independent of the bio-physical environment, and therefore can be termed cross-cultural.

Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. C. McGrew
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of StirlingStirlingScotland