Use of leaves to inspect ectoparasites in wild chimpanzees: a third cultural variant?
- 99 Downloads
We report 26 cases of using leaves as tools with which wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in the Sonso community, Budongo Forest, Uganda, appeared to inspect objects removed during grooming. Careful removal of potential ectoparasites and delicate lip or manual placement on leaves followed by intense visual examination characterised this behaviour. It appears to be done to judge whether either ingestion or discarding is most appropriate, the former occurring in most cases. This behaviour may represent a third variant of ectoparasite handling, different from those described at Taï and Gombe, yet sharing features with the latter. These two East African techniques may thus have evolved from leaf grooming.
KeywordsChimpanzee Culture Custom Ectoparasite Grooming
We thank V. Reynolds for support and for access to the Sonso chimpanzee community and associated background information. K. Arnold provided additional data presented here. We also thank K. Fawcatt, E. Stokes, D. Sheppard, and P. Pebsworth for their encouragement in the field. This work was financed by a BBSRC Studentship awarded to C.A..
- Boesch C (1995) Innovation in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Int J Primatol 16:1–16Google Scholar
- Boesch C (1996) The emergence of cultures among wild chimpanzees. In: Runciman WG, Maynard-Smith J, Dunbar RIM (eds) Evolution of social behaviour patterns in primates and man. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 251–268Google Scholar
- Galef B (1992) The question of animal culture. Hum Nat 3:157–178Google Scholar
- Goodall J (1968) The behaviour of free living chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream Reserve. Anim Behav Monogr 1:161–311Google Scholar
- Goodall J (1986) The chimpanzees of Gombe: patterns of behavior. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
- McBeath NM, McGrew WC (1982) Tools used by wild chimpanzees to obtain termites at Mt. Assirik, Senegal: the influence of habitat. J Hum Evol 11:65–72Google Scholar
- McGrew WC (1992) Chimpanzee material culture: implications for human evolution. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- McGrew WC, Tutin CEG (1978) Evidence for a social custom in wild chimpanzees? Man 13:324–351Google Scholar
- Nishida T (1980) The leaf-clipping display: a newly discovered expressive gesture in wild chimpanzees. J Hum Evol 9:117–128Google Scholar
- Reynolds V (1992) Chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest, 1962–1992. J Zool 228:695–699Google Scholar
- Tomasello M, Kruger A, Ratner H (1993) Cultural learning. Behav Brain Sci 16:495–511Google Scholar
- Whiten A, Ham R (1992) On the nature and evolution of imitation in the animal kingdom: reappraisal of a century of research. Adv Study Behav 21:239–283Google Scholar