Termite Fishing

The tool using behaviors of Goualougo chimpanzees comprise some of the most impressive assemblages and flexible repertoires of nonhuman material culture. Our studies of termite fishing by the chimpanzees has expanded the breadth and complexity of tool use in this species by providing the first descriptions of the form and function of two distinct tool sets used by chimpanzees in preying upon termites within the forests of the Goualougo Triangle.

Focused investigations on tool sharing by chimpanzees have also led to novel insights into teaching among wild chimpanzees. In Goualougo, mother chimpanzees teach tool skills by providing learners with termite fishing probes which are used to extract termites. Tool donors experienced significant reductions in tool use and feeding, while tool recipients significantly increased their tool use and feeding after tool transfers. Comparative studies with chimpanzees inhabiting Gombe in Tanzania show the Goualougo population exhibits greater helping in the population where termite gathering is a more complex tool task.

Honey Pounding

Chimpanzees in the Goualougo Triangle have been observed to use dipping, levering, and pounding tools to gather honey from the hives of stingless bees and African honeybees.


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