, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 265-274

Factors determining tool-using ability in two captive chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) colonies

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The influence of several determinants of performance in a reaching tool task were studied: rearing history, object experience, and gender. Forty-five chimpanzees between the ages of 7 and 36 years served as subjects. They were chosen from two facilities, each group having different levels of tool experience. Each group was made up of individuals from three rearing conditions: wild born, captive mother reared, and captive nursery reared. Results indicated that wild-born subjects were better at the task than were both groups of captive-born subjects, who performed similarly. Previous experience with reaching tools was not a significant factor in the determination of tool-using ability. Gender differences were not apparent for either group, and the range of ages of chimpanzees tested was not related to tool-using ability.