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Chimpanzee extractive foraging with excavating tools: Experimental modeling of the origins of human technology
Univ Tubingen, Germany.
Univ Oslo, Norway.
Univ Wisconsin, WI 53706 USA; Ditsong Natl Museum Nat Hist, South Africa.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5583-2697
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2019 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 14, no 5, article id e0215644Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is hypothesized that tool-assisted excavation of plant underground storage organs (USOs) played an adaptive role in hominin evolution and was also once considered a uniquely human behavior. Recent data indicate that savanna chimpanzees also use tools to excavate edible USOs. However, those chimpanzees remain largely unhabituated and we lack direct observations of this behavior in the wild. To fill this gap in our knowledge of hominoid USO extractive foraging, we conducted tool-mediated excavation experiments with captive chimpanzees naive to this behavior. We presented the chimpanzees with the opportunity to use tools in order to excavate artificially-placed underground foods in their naturally forested outdoor enclosure. No guidance or demonstration was given to the chimpanzees at any time. The chimpanzees used tools spontaneously in order to excavate the underground foods. They exhibited six different tool use behaviors in the context of excavation: probe, perforate, dig, pound, enlarge and shovel. However, they still excavated manually more often than they did with tools. Chimpanzees were selective in their choice of tools that we provided, preferring longer tools for excavation. They also obtained their own tools mainly from naturally occurring vegetation and transported them to the excavation site. They reused some tools throughout the study. Our new data provide a direction for the study of variables relevant to modeling USO extractive foraging by early hominins.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE , 2019. Vol. 14, no 5, article id e0215644
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Archaeology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-158339DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215644ISI: 000467949100012PubMedID: 31091268OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-158339DiVA, id: diva2:1333859
Note

Funding Agencies|La Caixa Foundation Spain [LCF/BQ/EU15/10350002]; University of Oslo, Department of Biosciences, Norway

Available from: 2019-07-02 Created: 2019-07-02 Last updated: 2019-07-02

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