Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chimpanzees use botanical skills to discover fruit

Date:
April 10, 2013
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Fruit-eating animals are known to use their spatial memory to relocate fruit, yet, it is unclear how they manage to find fruit in the first place. Researchers have now investigated which strategies chimpanzees in the Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa, use in order to find fruit in the rain forest. The result: Chimpanzees know that trees of certain species produce fruit simultaneously and use this botanical knowledge during their daily search for fruit.

Chimpanzees gazing up tree crowns in their search for fruit.
Credit: Ammie Kalan

Fruit-eating animals are known to use their spatial memory to relocate fruit, yet, it is unclear how they manage to find fruit in the first place. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have now investigated which strategies chimpanzees in the Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa, use in order to find fruit in the rain forest. The result: Chimpanzees know that trees of certain species produce fruit simultaneously and use this botanical knowledge during their daily search for fruit.

To investigate if chimpanzees know that if a tree is carrying fruit, then other trees of the same species are likely to carry fruit as well, the researchers conducted observations of their inspections, i.e. the visual checking of fruit availability in tree crowns. They focused their analyses on recordings in which they saw chimpanzees inspect empty trees, when they made "mistakes."

By analysing these "mistakes," the researchers were able to exclude that sensory cues of fruit had triggered the inspection and were the first to learn that chimpanzees had expectations of finding fruit days before feeding on it. They, in addition, significantly increased their expectations of finding fruit after tasting the first fruit in season. "They did not simply develop a 'taste' for specific fruit on which they had fed frequently," says Karline Janmaat. "Instead, inspection probability was predicted by a particular botanical feature -- the level of synchrony in fruit production of the species of encountered trees."

The researchers conclude that chimpanzees know that trees of certain species produce fruit simultaneously and use this information during their daily search for fruit. They base their expectations of finding fruit on a combination of botanical knowledge founded on the success rates of fruit discovery and an ability to categorize fruits into distinct species. "Our results provide new insights into the variety of food-finding strategies employed by our close relatives, the chimpanzees, and may well elucidate the evolutionary origins of categorization abilities and abstract thinking in humans," says Christophe Boesch, director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology's Department of Primatology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Karline R. L. Janmaat, Simone D. Ban & Christophe Boesch Ta. Chimpanzees use Botanical Skills to Discover Fruit: What we can Learn from their Mistakes. Animal Cognition, 10 April 2013

Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Chimpanzees use botanical skills to discover fruit." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410094141.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2013, April 10). Chimpanzees use botanical skills to discover fruit. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410094141.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Chimpanzees use botanical skills to discover fruit." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410094141.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) — West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) — The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins