Video Of Chimpanzees Engaging In Previously Unseen Behavior
It is not news that chimpanzees are omnivores and from time to time do eat meat. They have been known to eat everything from ants, termites, to bushpigs and even baboons. In fact, rather surprisingly is the most common item on their menu are monkeys and it has been known that chimps have eaten so many monkeys that entire populations have been threatened with being wiped out. It is well known that chimpanzees are resourceful when it comes to their diet but until know they had never been observed eating reptiles.
This has changed after a group of wild chimpanzees in Gabon that have recently become accustomed to human presence, meaning they behave exactly as they would in the wild exhibited behaviour previously unseen by scientists. Scientists studying the group have observed the chimpanzees regularly hunt and eat tortoises that they grab from the forest floor. For scientists this is exciting because they witnessed the chimpanzee get to the tortoise meat by cracking the shell repeatedly onto tree trunks until it cracks.
First Indication of complex tool use
This sort of behaviour has never been observed before to obtain meat, though chimpanzees in other parts of Africa have been seen pounding shells to extract fruit covered seeds. Some chimpanzees have been seen using stone and wood hammers to crack open nuts. The behaviour is important because it is the first indication of complex use of tools that allowed humans to evolve.
However, this sort of behaviour is limited to only a few groups of chimpanzees and it remains an unanswered question as to why all chimpanzee groups do not engage in this behaviour despite the clear benefits of doing so. It has become obvious that the opportunity to observe wild chimpanzee communities that have been accustomed to humans reveals new and unexpected behaviour. Many of the revelations have ended up challenging scientists understanding of evolution and in fact what it means to be human.