Chimps make weapons for hunting

Washington Post Friday, February 23, 2007

Chimpanzees living in the West African savannah have been observed fashioning deadly spears from sticks and using the tools to hunt small mammals — the first routine production of deadly weapons ever observed in animals other than humans. The multistep spearmaking practice, documented by researchers in Senegal who spent years gaining the chimpanzees’ trust, adds credence to the idea that human forebears fashioned similar tools millions of years ago. … Using their hands and teeth, the chimpanzees were repeatedly seen tearing the side branches off long, straight sticks, peeling back the bark and sharpening one end. Then, grasping the weapons in a “power grip,” they jabbed them into tree-branch hollows where bush babies — small, monkeylike mammals — sleep during the day. In one case, after repeated stabs, a chimpanzee removed the injured or dead animal and ate it, the researchers reported in yesterday’s online issue of the journal Current Biology.

doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.12.042

Savanna Chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes verus, Hunt with Tools

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