Article

Primates

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 160-170

First online:

Mental map in wild chimpanzees: An analysis of hammer transports for nut cracking

  • Christophe BoeschAffiliated withDepartment of Ethology and Wildlife Research, Institute of Zoology, University of Zurich
  • , Hedwige BoeschAffiliated withDepartment of Ethology and Wildlife Research, Institute of Zoology, University of Zurich

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Abstract

The mental map of wild chimpanzees is analyzed in the context of their transports of clubs and stones used for cracking two species of nuts of different hardness,Coula edulis andPanda oleosa, in the Tai National Park (Ivory Coast). For the harderPanda nuts, they transport the harder hammers, i.e., almost exclusively stones, hammers of greater weight, and the transports are longer than forCoula nuts. The analysis made for the transports forPanda nuts shows that they seem to remember the location of stones and to choose the stones so as to keep the transport distance minimal. The chimpanzees seem to possess an Euclidian space, which allows them to somehow measure and remember distances; to compare several such distances so as to choose the stone with the shortest distance to a goal tree; to correctly locate a new stone location with reference to different trees; and to change their reference point so as to measure the distance to eachPanda tree from any stone location. They also combine the weight and the distance. The wild chimpanzees of the Tai National Park seem to possess concrete operation abilities in spatial representation.