Do chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) use cleavers and anvils to fracture Treculia africana fruits? Preliminary data on a new form of percussive technology
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- Koops, K., McGrew, W.C. & Matsuzawa, T. Primates (2010) 51: 175. doi:10.1007/s10329-009-0178-6
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Wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are renowned for their use of tools in activities ranging from foraging to social interactions. Different populations across Africa vary in their tool use repertoires, giving rise to cultural variation. We report a new type of percussive technology in food processing by chimpanzees in the Nimba Mountains, Guinea: Treculia fracturing. Chimpanzees appear to use stone and wooden “cleavers” as tools, as well as stone outcrop “anvils” as substrate to fracture the large and fibrous fruits of Treculia africana, a rare but prized food source. This newly described form of percussive technology is distinctive, as the apparent aim is not to extract an embedded food item, as is the case in nut cracking, baobab smashing, or pestle pounding, but rather to reduce a large food item to manageably sized pieces. Furthermore, these preliminary data provide the first evidence of chimpanzees using two types of percussive technology for the same purpose.