First observation of Dorylus ant feeding in Budongo chimpanzees supports absence of stick-tool culture
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The use of stick- or probe-tools is a chimpanzee universal, recorded in all long-term study populations across Africa, except one: Budongo, Uganda. Here, after 25-years of observation, stick-tool use remains absent under both natural circumstances and strong experimental scaffolding. Instead, the chimpanzees employ a rich repertoire of leaf-tools for a variety of dietary and hygiene tasks. One use of stick-tools in other communities is in feeding on the aggressive Dorylus ‘army-ant’ species, consumed by chimpanzees at all long-term study sites outside of mid-Western Uganda. Here we report the first observation of army-ant feeding in Budongo, in which individuals from the Waibira chimpanzee community employed detached leaves to feed on a ground swarm. We describe the behaviour and discuss whether or not it can be considered tool-use, together with its implication for the absence of stick-tool ‘culture’ in Budongo chimpanzees.
Mugisha , S , Zuberbuehler , K & Hobaiter , C 2016 , ' First observation of Dorylus ant feeding in Budongo chimpanzees supports absence of stick-tool culture ' Primates , vol 57 , no. 3 , pp. 389-394 . DOI: 10.1007/s10329-016-0533-3
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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC grant agreement no 283871.
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