learn tool use from others and may be more similar to humans than first thought, research says | World News

Chimpanzees do not automatically know how to crack nuts with stone tools, new research suggests.

The study by the University of Zurich instead shows they learn this behaviour by watching others and learning from them.

The new research indicates that the way culture evolves in groups of chimpanzees and humans may be more similar than first thought.

Professor of anthropology Kathelijne Koops travelled to the Nimba Mountains of Guinea in western Africa to conduct the experiment

A group of chimpanzees were given the same tools that other nearby chimp communities use to crack nuts.

This group showed interest in the tools at first but did not use them to open the nuts as the other communities did eventually lost interest in them over a few months.

However, a separate group of chimpanzees living less than four miles away did use the tools to crack nuts.

Dr Koops said this suggested the primates “acquire cultural behaviours more like humans and do not simply invent a complex tool use behaviour like nut cracking on their own”.

The findings, published in Nature Human Behaviour journal “help to shed light on what it is (and isn’t) that makes human culture unique,” she added.

“Specifically, they suggest greater continuity between chimpanzee and human cultural evolution than is normally assumed and that the human capacity for cumulative culture may have a shared evolutionary origin with chimpanzees,” she said.

Professor Koops dedicated her research to Kassié Henry Doré, one of the guides who helped with the field work in the Nimba mountain range.

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