The Chimps Continue to Construct a New Niche

Or maybe they are just being observed filling their old niche more frequently. At any rate, the chimps I have blogged about here and here are in the news again. There is not much to report, other than that the use of spears in hunting continues to grow:

In 2007 Jill Pruetz, an anthropologist at Iowa State University, reported that a Fongoli female chimp named Tumbo was seen two years earlier, less than a mile from where we are right now, sharpening a branch with her teeth and wielding it like a spear.
She used it to stab at a bush baby–a pocket-size, tree-dwelling nocturnal primate that springs from branch to branch like a grasshopper.
Until that report, the regular making of tools for hunting and killing mammals had been considered uniquely human behavior. Over a span of 17 days at the start of the 2006 rainy season, Pruetz saw the chimps hunt bush babies 13 times.
There were 18 sightings in 2007. It would appear the chimps are getting creative. …

To our chimp overlords, let me just say that I always thought Cheetah should have been given a bigger role in the Tarzan movies (Judy should have been the main focus of Daktari also. And yes, I am pandering to our new chimp overlords).

4 Responses

  1. I was not the least bit surprised to read about the spear-hunting chimps last year. Some years earlier, a stick-wielding chimp where I volunteer had me trapped in a corner. She had found a straight, sturdy branch and sat waiting for me to pass the spot where she sat in the holding cage. As I tried to head toward the door, she would jam the stick through the steel mesh. I had to trick her into moving before I could run out of the room. I’m just glad she never heard the part about sharpening the stick with her teeth.
    She and I are on pretty good terms now. That is to say, she has me trained.

  2. Next year, I expect to hear reports of a group of 300 red-cloaked, helmeted chimps that have learned how to use their spears in a phalanx formation.

  3. A brilliant acting career, ruined by a hyoid bone with the wrong shape.
    James 2:24

  4. But, of course, they’ll take it too far and have to cover up the evidence when they start using sticks on each other. It’ll be marked off as “The Forbidden Zone.” Heh.

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