Chimpanzees will find a place to sleep that’s on the way to breakfast sites, report researchers. The chimps will also risk travel in the dark when predators are active to get more desired, less abundant fruits, such as figs.
“As humans we are familiar with the race against birds for our cherries, or against squirrels for our walnuts and pecans,” says study coauthor Leo Palansky, “but this race is carried out amongst competitors of all kinds of species in locations all over the world.”
The study provides evidence that chimpanzees flexibly plan their breakfast time, type, and location after weighing multiple disparate pieces of information.
“Being able to reveal the role of environmental complexity in shaping cognitive-based behavior is especially exciting,” says Polansky, an associate researcher in the anthropology department at the University of California, Davis.
“Long-term, detailed information from the field can reveal the value of high levels of cognition and behavioral flexibility for efficiently obtaining critical food resources in complex environments.”
Researchers recorded when and where five adult female chimpanzees spent the night and acquired food for 275 days during three fruit-scarce periods.
The research took place in the Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire, led by researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, where Polansky was a postdoctoral researcher.
The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Source: UC Davis