Animal Cognition

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 325–334

Leaf-folding behavior for drinking water by wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at Bossou, Guinea

  • Rikako Tonooka
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s100710100110

Cite this article as:
Tonooka, R. Anim.Cogn. (2001) 4: 325. doi:10.1007/s100710100110


The use of leaves for drinking water by wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at Bossou, Guinea, was observed intensively. The natural hollow of a tree, used by chimpanzees, was filled up with fresh water every morning. Seventy episodes of leaf-using behavior by 14 chimpanzees were directly observed and video-recorded. The chimpanzees at Bossou most frequently (70.3%) used a particular kind of leaf, Hybophrynium braunianum as tool material. The chimpanzees folded one or more leaves in the mouth. This technique, "leaf folding", was observed more frequently (57.9 %) than "leaf sponge" or "leaf spoon". Chimpanzees began to perform this behavior at about 2.5 years old. Infant chimpanzees showed more frequent observations of others (especially their mothers) using leaves before trying to drink water with leaves. Both observation and trial and error might be necessary for the acquisition of this tool-use behavior.

Tool use Water drinking Leaf selection Technique Wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rikako Tonooka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Kanrin, Inuyama, Aichi 484-8506Japan

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