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Chimpanzees Lose Behavioral Diversity under Human Impact

Chimpanzees Lose Behavioral Diversity under Human Impact

Saturday, 9 March, 2019 - 05:45
Philip, right, the dominant chimpanzee at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, sits in an enclosure with other orphaned chimps outside Sierra Leone's capital Freetown, Aug. 14, 2007. Reuters.
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
An international research team found that chimpanzee behavioral diversity is reduced under human impact. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology explained that when these animals are exposed to neighborhoods, agriculture, and mining, their behavioral diversity struggles.

The study was published in the journal Science.

According to the German News Agency, the researchers said chimpanzees are well known for their extraordinary diversity of behaviors.

As many of these behaviors are assumed to be group-specific and inherited from a generation to another, researchers focused on what they call "chimpanzee cultures".

They analyzed more than 30 behaviors across 144 chimpanzee groups living in African forests. During the study, researchers examined the means and tricks used by monkeys in the extraction of ants, algae, nuts and honey, as well as the use of tools for hunting or digging for tubers, stones, and caves.

Then, they compared the behavioral diversity inside the chimpanzee groups with the human impact in the regions close to the animals.

German researchers had previously said chimpanzees use "integrated tools" in their search for food, in addition to multiple techniques in different regions.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have reached this conclusion in collaboration with their colleagues at the University of Warsaw, through a long-term study on the eastern Chimpanzees living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

According to the study lead author, chimpanzees use several tools to search for their food: long sticks to collect ant groups, short sticks to collect stingy ants and honey from nests of non-stinging bee trees, along with sturdy sticks to reach underground nests of non- stinging bees.

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