Pan the Tool-Maker creatively adapts to harsh environments
Chimpanzees use tools in many environments (here shown with hammer and anvil).
Image: Clive Bromhall/Oxford Scientific Films
As Science Daily reports:
A team of researchers including University of Wisconsin-Madison anthropologist Travis R. Pickering reports evidence of tool use among rare savanna chimps to harvest edible tubers, roots and bulbs.
The finding is important because it chips away at behaviors once seen as uniquely human. It supports the notion that chimpanzees, our closest living evolutionary relatives, can serve as models for understanding some aspects of the lifestyles and behaviors of the earliest members of the human family.
The new study demonstrates that "the understanding and capability to exploit these resources were very likely within the grasp of the first chimp-like hominids," argues Pickering. "It was widely believed that it is a uniquely human adaptation to use tools to dig these things up."