, Volume 4, Issue 3-4, pp 325-334
Date: 16 Oct 2001

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

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Abstract.

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.

Accepted after revision: 15 August 2001
Electronic Publication