Feeds

Chimpanzees sharpen spikes for bush baby killings

Chimpy Spears

3 Big data security analytics techniques

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. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift
Guangzhou skyscraper denizens to hold on to hats
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.