Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Chimp-In-Chief

...could maybe, possibly, no I guess not, learn from these guys.
The noise came from the trees: crack, crack, crack.

As the researchers and their village guides crept closer, they saw something that was not supposed to be happening in the Ebo forest in the central African nation of Cameroon: chimpanzees using rocks as hammers to break open tough-shelled nuts.

Previous research had found that kind of tool use only in chimps 1,000 miles away, across the wide N'Zo-Sassandra River in Ivory Coast. Researchers thought the behavior was either a genetic trait or maybe a learned skill passed from one generation to another.

The discovery of tool use among chimps in Cameroon, separated from their cousins in Ivory Coast by the "information barrier" of the river, suggests that the skill was invented independently in each place, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Current Biology.

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