The Tool Repertoire of Bossou Chimpanzees

  • Tatyana HumleEmail author
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series


Chimpanzees in the wild make and use a diverse and rich kit of tools and, with the exception of humans, they are the only living primates to habitually or customarily use and make tools during their daily activities. Tool-use behavior in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) has been observed at all field sites where chimpanzees have been studied. The Bossou chimpanzees (P. t. verus) display a large repertoire of tool-using behaviors, some of which are unique to this community. This chapter aims to present globally the diversity of tool-use behaviors of the Bossou chimpanzees, highlighting their age-class, sex, and temporal distribution, the diversity of domains in which they are observed, and patterns of hand use during tool manipulation. We also briefly discuss the relevance of tool use among Bossou chimpanzees to understanding innovation and cultural evolution in chimpanzees. Because each community of chimpanzees has a unique material cultural repertoire within the feeding, social, and hygiene domains, we also describe how the tool-use repertoire of the Bossou community differs from that recorded in other communities.


Tool Composite Cultural Repertoire Bossou Chimpanzee Chimpanzee Subspecies Anvil Stone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique, in particular the Direction Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (DNRST) and the Institut de Recherche Environnementale de Bossou (IREB), for granting us over the years the permission to carry out research at Bossou. I am particularly grateful to Yukimaru Sugiyama and Tetsuro Matsuzawa, the founders of the research on chimpanzees at Bossou and Nimba, for their continual support and advice, and all colleagues and students from the Bossou research team for increasing over the years our understanding of tool use among the Bossou chimpanzees. Finally, I am forever grateful to the local villagers and all our local assistants at Bossou for all their hard work and their invaluable contributions and collaboration.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Anthropology and ConservationUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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