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Raw material procurement for termite fishing tools by wild chimpanzees in the Issa Valley, Tanzania

Warren, K, Sommer, V, Piel, AK and Pascual-Garrido, A Raw material procurement for termite fishing tools by wild chimpanzees in the Issa Valley, Tanzania. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. ISSN 1096-8644 (Accepted)

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Objectives: Chimpanzee termite fishing has been studied for decades, yet the selective processes preceding the manufacture of fishing tools remain largely unexplored. We investigate raw material selection and potential evidence of forward planning in the chimpanzees of Issa valley, western Tanzania.
Materials and Methods: Using traditional archaeological methods, we surveyed the location of plants from where chimpanzees sourced raw material to manufacture termite fishing tools, relative to targeted mounds. We measured raw material abundance to test for availability and selection. Statistics included Chi-Squared, two-tailed Wilcoxon, and Kruskall-Wallace tests.
Results: Issa chimpanzees manufactured extraction tools only from bark, despite availability of other suitable materials (e.g. twigs), and selected particular plant species as raw material sources, which they often also exploit for food. Most plants were sourced 1–16 m away from the mound, with a maximum of 33 m. The line of sight from the targeted mound was obscured for a quarter of these plants.
Discussion: The exclusive use of bark tools despite availability of other suitable materials indicates a possible cultural preference. The fact that Issa chimpanzees select specific plant species and travel some distance to source them suggests some degree of selectivity and, potentially, forward planning. Our results have implications for the reconstruction of early hominin behaviors, particularly with regard to the use of perishable tools that remain archaeologically invisible.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0603 Evolutionary Biology, 1601 Anthropology, 2101 Archaeology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 10:18
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2017 09:51
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6639

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