Necessity creates opportunities for chimpanzee tool use
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Although social transmission mechanisms of animal cultures are well studied, little is known about the origins of behavioral innovations, even in established tool users such as chimpanzees. Previous work has suggested that wild chimpanzees are especially prone to engaging with tools during extended periods of low food availability and after long travel, supporting the hypothesis that cultural innovation is facilitated by necessity revealing opportunities. Here, we tested this hypothesis with a field experiment that directly compared subjects' immediate variation in measures of current energy balance with their interest in a novel foraging problem, liquid honey enclosed in an apparatus accessible by tool use. We found that the previous distance traveled directly predicted subjects' manipulations of both the apparatus and the tool, whereas previous feeding time was negatively correlated to manipulation time. We conclude that "necessity" augments chimpanzees' likelihood of engaging with ecological "opportunities," suggesting that both factors are scaffolding foraging innovation in this and potentially other species.
Grund , C , Neumann , C , Zuberbuehler , K & Gruber , T 2019 , ' Necessity creates opportunities for chimpanzee tool use ' , Behavioral Ecology , vol. 30 , no. 4 , pp. 1136-1144 . https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arz062
Copyright © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology. All rights reserved. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arz062