The new study, conducted by a team of scientists from the Iowa State University, suggests that the females of a community of chimpanzees from Fongoli, Senegal are the ones to use hunting tools.
The researchers believe that the new findings could help better understand the evolution of the human species.
The new study is a continuation of a previous one which was conducted by researcher Jill Pruetz.
Pruetz discovered in her first study that female chimpanzees use tools when hunting. But the findings were not taken too seriously by the scientists due to the fact that the sample size was pretty small.
Therefore, researchers started to document more than 300 hunts made by chimpanzees known to utilize spears and other similar hunting instruments.
The scientists observed the chimpanzees’ hunting behavior for a period of 8 years.
According to their findings, the male chimpanzees make up approximately 60% of the studied group, however males were observed to undertake only 40% of the animals’ hunting expeditions.
Also, the male chimps were seen using only their hands when hunting for prey, while the females were the ones to use self-crafted tools.
Jill Pruetz said that the new discovery is a great example of how diverse the chimpanzees’ behavior is. The more they are being studied, the more the scientists find new aspects of their social behavior.
According to Pruetz, who is an expert professor in anthropology and a primatologist at the Iowa State University, no one really knows why the females of this specific community of chimps are the ones using the hunting tools, and not the males.
The researchers theorize that one of the reasons for this behavior is the social structure among the Fongoli chimpanzees.
Pruetz explained that the female chimp at Fongoli can keep the prey after capturing it; so can a low-ranking male.
However, in other communities the alpha male will take the prey from whoever captured it, so female chimps are not known to hunt, mostly because the dominant male will take away their prey.
The scientists detailed their findings in a study published in the Royal Society Open Science.
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