Hunting behavior of wild chimpanzees in the Taï National Park

Authors


Abstract

Hunting is often considered one of the major behaviors that shaped early hominids' evolution, along with the shift toward a drier and more open habitat. We suggest that a precise comparison of the hunting behavior of a species closely related to man might help us understand which aspects of hunting could be affected by environmental conditions. The hunting behavior of wild chimpanzees is discussed, and new observations on a population living in the tropical rain forest of the Taï National Park, Ivory Coast, are presented. Some of the forest chimpanzees' hunting performances are similar to those of savanna-woodlands populations; others are different. Forest chimpanzees have a more specialized prey image, intentionally search for more adult prey, and hunt in larger groups and with a more elaborate cooperative level than savanna-woodlands chimpanzees. In addition, forest chimpanzees tend to share meat more actively and more frequently. These findings are related to some theories on aspects of hunting behavior in early hominids and discussed in order to understand some factors influencing the hunting behavior of wild chimpanzees. Finally, the hunting behavior of primates is compared with that of social carnivores.

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