Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tool-assisted hunting at Fongoli surpasses the century mark

So far this year, we've recorded 40 tool-assisted ("spear") hunts by Fongoli chimps, and the hunting "season" (i.e., the rainy season) has barely started... That brings the grand total of tool-assisted hunts by Fongoli chimps to over 130 recorded bouts since they were first habituated in 2005. Females continue to hunt more than expected, with males hunting less than expected - but with several adult males exhibiting the behavior (and one more than once!) since we first reported tool-assisted hunting in the 2007 Current Biology paper.

Below is a link to a short video showing Fongoli chimpanzee female Nickel's "spear" tool, which is included in the Smithsonian Institution's new Human Origins exhibit.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Farewell to Frito

Sadly, I was able to confirm this week upon my return to Fongoli that the chimpanzee my research team found dead in April was indeed Frito. He died at the age of 10 (or thereabouts), and you can see him in this video I took a month or so before he died. We don't know how he died, but he was found along a chimp trail between two distant water sources. Ultimately, he will be buried near Sakoto ravine where I think he found some of his happiest moments - especially in Sakoto pool. I don't believe I've ever seen a chimpanzee as happy-go-lucky as Frito. Fortunately, he is immortalized in the documentary films, 'Ape Genius' and 'Chimps: Next of Kin'. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.