New tools suggest local variation in tool use by a montane community of the rare Nigeria–Cameroon chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes ellioti, in Nigeria

Abstract

Regional variations in tool use among chimpanzee subspecies and between populations within the same subspecies can often be explained by ecological constraints, although cultural variation also occurs. In this study we provide data on tool use by a small, recently isolated population of the endangered Nigeria–Cameroon chimpanzee Pan troglodytes ellioti, thus demonstrating regional variation in tool use in this rarely studied subspecies. We found that the Ngel Nyaki chimpanzee community has its own unique tool kit consisting of five different tool types. We describe a tool type that has rarely been observed (ant-digging stick) and a tool type that has never been recorded for this chimpanzee subspecies or in West Central Africa (food pound/grate stone). Our results suggest that there is fine- scale variation in tool use among geographically close communities of P. t. ellioti, and that these variations likely reflect both ecological constraints and cultural variation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

References

  1. Abwe EE, Morgan BJ (2008) The Ebo Forest: four years of preliminary research and conservation of the Nigeria–Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes vellerosus). Pan Africa News 15:26–29

    Google Scholar 

  2. Alp R (1993) Meat eating and ant dipping by wild chimpanzees in Sierra Leone. Primates 34:463–468

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Boesch C, Boesch H (1990) Tool use and tool making in wild chimpanzees. Folia Primatol 54:86–99

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Boesch C, Marchesi P, Marchesi N, Frut B, Joulian F (1994) Is nut cracking in wild chimpanzees a cultural behaviour? J Hum Evol 26:325–338

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Boesch C, Head H, Robbins MM (2009) Complex tool sets for honey extraction among chimpanzees in Loango National Park, Gabon. J Hum Evol 56:560–569

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Chapman JD, Chapman HM (2001) The forests of Taraba and Adamawa States, Nigeria. An ecological account and plant species checklist. University of Canterbury, Christchurch

    Google Scholar 

  7. Chapman HM, Olsen SM, Trumm D (2004) An assessment of changes in the montane forests of Taraba State, Nigeria, over the past 30 years. Oryx 38:282–290

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Dishan EE, Agishi R, Akosim C (2010) Women’s involvement in non timber forest products utilization in support zones of Gashaka Gumti National park. J Res For Wildl Environ 2:73–84

    Google Scholar 

  9. Dutton P (2013) Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) ecology in a Nigerian montane forest. Ph.D. thesis. University of Canterbury

  10. Dutton P, Chapman H (2014) Dietary preferences of a submontane population of the rare Nigerian-Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) in Ngel Nyaki Forest Reserve, Nigeria. Am J Primatol. doi:10.1002/ajp.22313

  11. Dutton P, Chapman H, Moltchanova E (2014) Secondary removal of seeds dispersed by chimpanzees in a Nigerian montane forest. Afr J Ecol. doi:10.1111/aje.12138

    Google Scholar 

  12. Fay JM, Carroll RW (1994) Chimpanzee tool use for honey and termite extraction in central Africa. Am J Primatol 33:309–317

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Fowler A (2006) Behavioural ecology of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes vellerosus) at Gashaka, Nigeria. Ph.D. thesis. University College London

  14. Fowler A, Sommer V (2007) Subsistence technology in Nigerian chimpanzees. Int J Primatol 28:997–1023

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Hawthorne WD, Jongkind CCH (2006) Woody plants of western African forests, a guide to the forest trees, shrubs and lianas from Senegal to Ghana. Kew Publishing, Kew

    Google Scholar 

  16. Hicks TC. 2010 A chimpanzee mega-culture? Exploring behavioral continuity in Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii across northern DR Congo. Dissertation, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

  17. Hicks TC, Fouts RS, Fouts DH (2005) Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) tool use in the Ngotto Forest, Central African Republic. Am J Primatol 65:221–237

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Humle T (2003) Behaviour and ecology of chimpanzees in West Africa. In: Kormos R, Boesch C, Bakarr MI, Butynski TM (eds) Status survey and conservation action plan: West African chimpanzees. IUCN, Gland, pp 13–19

  19. Humle T (2010) How are army ants shedding new light on culture in chimpanzees. In: Lonsdorf EV, Ross SR, Matsuzawa T (eds) The mind of the chimpanzee: ecological and experimental perspectives. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 116–126

    Google Scholar 

  20. Keay RWJ (1990) Trees of Nigeria. Clarendon Press, New York p 486

  21. Knight A (2013) The genetic structure and dispersal patterns of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti). MSc thesis. University of Canterbury, New Zealand

  22. Koops K, McGrew WC, Matsuzawa T (2010) Do chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) use cleavers and anvils to fracture Treculia africana fruits? Preliminary data on a new form of percussive technology. Primates 51:175–178

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Matsuzawa T (1994) Field experiments on use of stone tools by chimpanzees in the wild. In: Wrangham RW, McGrew WC, de Wall FBM, Heltne P (eds) Chimpanzee cultures. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp 351–370

  24. McGrew WC (1974) Tool use by wild chimpanzees in feeding upon driver ants. J Hum Evol 3:501–508

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. McGrew WC (1992) Chimpanzee material culture. Implications for human evolution. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  26. Morgan BJ, Abwe EE (2006) Chimpanzees use stone hammers in Cameroon. Curr Biol 16:R632–R633

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Nishida T, Hiraiwa M (1982) Natural history of a tool-using behavior by wild chimpanzees in feeding upon wood-boring ants. J Hum Evol 11:73–99

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Nishida T, Uehara S (1983) Natural diet of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii): long-term record from the Mahale Mountains, Tanzania. Afr Stud Monogr 3:109–130

    Google Scholar 

  29. Njoya MTM (2010) Diversity of stingless bees in Bamenda Afromontane Forests—Cameroon: nest architecture, behaviour and labour calendar. Dissertation, Hohen Landwirtschaftlichen Fakultät der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Bonn

  30. Nyanganji G, Fowler A, McNamara A, Sommer V (2011) Monkeys and apes as animals and humans: ethno-primatology in Nigeriaʼs Taraba Region. In: Sommer V, Ross C (eds) Primates of Gashaka. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 101–134

  31. Pascual-Garrido A, Umaru B, Allon O, Sommer V (2013) Apes finding ants: predator–prey dynamics in a chimpanzee habitat in Nigeria. Am J Primatol 75:1231–1244

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Sanz C, Morgan D (2009) Flexible and persistent tool-using strategies in honey gathering by wild chimpanzees. Int J Primatol 30:411–427

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Sanz CM, Morgan D, Gulick S (2004) New insights into chimpanzees, tools, and termites from the Congo Basin. Am Nat 164:567–581

  34. Sanz CM, Schöning C, Morgan DB (2010) Chimpanzees prey on army ants with specialized tool set. Am J Primatol 72:17–24

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Schöning C, Ellis D, Fowler A, Sommer V (2007) Army ant prey availability and consumption by Chimpanzees at Gashaka (Nigeria). J Zool 271:125–133

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Sirianni G, Visalberghi E (2013) Wild bearded capuchins process cashew nuts without contacting caustic compounds. Am J Primatol 75:387–393

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Sommer V, Buba U, Jesus G, Pascual-Garrido A (2012) Till the last drop. Honey gathering in Nigerian chimpanzees. Ecotropica 18:55–64

    Google Scholar 

  38. Sugiyama Y (1985) The brush-stick of chimpanzees found in south-west Cameroon and their cultural characteristics. Primates 26:361–374

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Sugiyama Y (1995) Tool-use for catching ants by chimpanzees at Bossou and Monts Nimba, West Africa. Primates 36:193–205

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Sugiyama Y, Koman J, Bhoye Sow M (1988) Ant-catching wands of wild chimpanzees at Bossou, Guinea. Folia Primatol 51:56–60

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Takemoto H, Hirata S, Sugiyama Y (2005) The formation of the brush-sticks: modification of chimpanzees or the by-product of folding? Primates 46:183–189

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Tutin CEG, Ham R, Wrogemann D (1995) Tool use by chimpanzees (Pan t. troglodytes) in the Lopé Reserve, Gabon. Primates 36:181–192

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. van Schaik CP (2009) Geographical variation in the behavior of wild great apes: is it really cultural? In: Laland KN, Galef BG (eds) The question of animal culture. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, pp 70–98

    Google Scholar 

  44. Whiten A, Goodall J, McGrew WC, Nishida T, Reynolds V, Sugiyama Y, Tutin CEG, Wrangham RW, Boesch C (1999) Cultures in chimpanzees. Nature 399:682–685

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. 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 138:1481–1516

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Yamamoto S, Yamakoshi G, Humle T, Matsuzawa T (2011) Ant fishing in trees: invention and modification of a new tool-use behavior. In: Matsuzawa T, Humle T, Sugiyama Y (eds) The Chimpanzees of Bossou and Nimba. Springer, Japan, pp 123–130

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Taraba State Forestry for logistical support and the Nigerian Montane Forest Project for field facilities and field assistance, especially to Alfred Moses and Suleiman A. Idi. Funding was from the North of England Zoological Society (Chester Zoo), Nexen Inc., A. G. Leventis Foundation and Primate Conservation Inc. (PCI).

The sampling protocol used in this study complied with the ethical standards in the treatment of animals with the guidelines laid down by the Primate Society of Japan, NIH (US), EC Guide for animal experiments, was approved by the University of Canterbury Animal Ethics Committee, Approval # 2009/26R and was in compliance with the laws governing animal research in Nigeria.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul Dutton.

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Dutton, P., Chapman, H. New tools suggest local variation in tool use by a montane community of the rare Nigeria–Cameroon chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes ellioti, in Nigeria. Primates 56, 89–100 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-014-0451-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Afromontane
  • Camponotus
  • Dorylus
  • Pan troglodytes ellioti
  • Stingless bees
  • Tool use