Chapter

The Chimpanzees of Bossou and Nimba

Part of the series Primatology Monographs pp 277-287

Chimpanzees in the Seringbara Region of the Nimba Mountains

  • Kathelijne KoopsAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Anthropology, Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge Email author 

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Abstract

Seringbara is a study site in the western area of the Nimba Mountains, located 6 km from Bossou. Chimpanzee research in the Seringbara region has been intermittent since 1999. Permanent research presence was established in 2003, and the chimpanzees are becoming partly habituated. Research focuses on the use of elementary technology (e.g., oil-palm use, ant-dipping, nest building), feeding ecology, and habituation. Ground nesting, a rare behavior in chimpanzees, has been studied in depth. Ecological explanations for ground nesting, such as climatic variation and tree availability, were not supported. However, ground nesting is a male-biased behavior as revealed by DNA analyses of hair samples. Habituation efforts have yielded new observations, such as hand clapping. Moreover, several individuals belonging to one of the Nimba communities have now been identified. Current research investigates ecological factors influencing the use of elementary technology in both nest building and foraging. The function of tree and ground nesting is investigated by considering several hypotheses (thermoregulation, antivector/parasite, antipredator). Furthermore, seasonal and spatial availability of target species for tool-use, availability of appropriate tool materials, and availability and distribution of alternative food sources are addressed.