Female Chimps Pioneered Tool Use For Hunting

Apr 27, 2015

A Chimpanzee named Toto, exhibiting a "fear grin" in a tree
Credit Jill Pruetz

Iowa State University primatologist Jill Pruetz studies the spear-wielding Savannah chimpanzees ofSenegal. Most recently, after documenting more than 300 tool-assisted hunts, the team found that while adult male chimps are the main hunters, it's the female chimps that hunt with tools more than males.

“It’s just another example of diversity in chimp behavior that we keep finding the longer we study wild chimps,” Pruetz says. “It is more the exception than the rule that you’ll find some sort of different behavior, even though we’ve studied chimps extensively.”

In this Talk of Iowa interview, Charity Nebbe talks with Pruetz about her findings, recently published in the Royal Society Open Science journal.