Advertisement

Primates

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 255–258 | Cite as

Use of leaves to inspect ectoparasites in wild chimpanzees: a third cultural variant?

  • Clea Assersohn
  • Andrew WhitenEmail author
  • Zephyr T. Kiwede
  • John Tinka
  • Joseph Karamagi
Original Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Chimpanzee Culture Custom Ectoparasite Grooming 

Notes

Acknowledgements

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..

References

  1. Boesch C (1995) Innovation in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Int J Primatol 16:1–16Google Scholar
  2. 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
  3. Boesch C, Marchesi P, Marchesi N, Fruth B, Joulian F (1994) Is nut cracking in wild chimpanzees a cultural behaviour? J Hum Evol 26:325–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Galef B (1992) The question of animal culture. Hum Nat 3:157–178Google Scholar
  5. Goodall J (1968) The behaviour of free living chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream Reserve. Anim Behav Monogr 1:161–311Google Scholar
  6. Goodall J (1986) The chimpanzees of Gombe: patterns of behavior. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  7. 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
  8. McGrew WC (1992) Chimpanzee material culture: implications for human evolution. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  9. McGrew WC, Tutin CEG (1978) Evidence for a social custom in wild chimpanzees? Man 13:324–351Google Scholar
  10. McGrew WC, Ham R, White L, Tutin CEG, Fernandez M (1997) Why don’t chimpanzees in Gabon crack nuts? Int J Primatol 18:353–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Nishida T (1980) The leaf-clipping display: a newly discovered expressive gesture in wild chimpanzees. J Hum Evol 9:117–128Google Scholar
  12. Nishida T, Uehara S (1980) Chimpanzees, tools and termites: another example from Tanzania. Curr Anthropol 21:671–672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Reynolds V (1992) Chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest, 1962–1992. J Zool 228:695–699Google Scholar
  14. Tomasello M, Kruger A, Ratner H (1993) Cultural learning. Behav Brain Sci 16:495–511Google Scholar
  15. 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
  16. Whiten A, Goodall J, McGrew WC, Nishida T, Reynolds V, Sugiyama Y, Tutin CEG, Wrangham RW, Boesch C (1999) Chimpanzee cultures. Nature 399:682–685CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Whiten A, Goodall J, McGrew WC, Nishida T, Reynolds V, Sugiyama Y, Tutin CEG, Wrangham RW, Boesch C (2001) Charting cultural variation in chimpanzees. Behaviour 138:1489–1525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Zamma K (2002) Leaf-grooming by a wild chimpanzee in Mahale. Primates 43:87–90PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clea Assersohn
    • 1
  • Andrew Whiten
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zephyr T. Kiwede
    • 2
  • John Tinka
    • 2
  • Joseph Karamagi
    • 2
  1. 1.Scottish Primate Research Group, School of PsychologyUniversity of St AndrewsFifeUK
  2. 2.Budongo Forest ProjectMasindiUganda

Personalised recommendations