Feeds

Chimpanzees sharpen spikes for bush baby killings

Chimpy Spears

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Chimpanzees in West Africa have been observed using sharpened branches as "spears" to hunt other primates.

A report in the journal Current Biology documents 22 instances of chimps in Senegal creating tools to stab their bush baby prey. Bush babies are tiny and much more primitive primates related to the lemurs found in Madagascar.

In one case, researchers saw a chimpanzee stab a bush baby which was hiding in a hollow tree, extract it, and then eat it. Iowa State University assistant professor Jill Pruetz told the BBC: "There were hints that this behavior might occur, but it was one time at a different site."

The standard manufacturing technique for the weapons was to break off a living branch and trim the leaves off. Some would then strip the bark and sharpen up the point with their teeth.

The behaviour was particularly prevalent among adult females and adolescent chimps. Preutz said: "It's classic in primates that when there is a new innovation, particularly in terms of tool use, the younger generations pick it up very quickly. The last ones to pick up are adults, mainly the males. It's a niche that males seem to ignore."

The authors interpret that older males miss out on the opportunity for cultural transmission of ideas available to groups of mothers and their offspring.

The news further explodes the myth of chimpanzees as docile vegetarians. UK TV audiences were shocked in 1980s by a David Attenborough documentary which showed chimps hunting down a monkey and then tearing it apart with their bare hands. Hit play for a glimpse of the bloodthirsty truth about our closest relatives. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?