A comparison of bonobo and chimpanzee tool use: evidence for a female bias in the Pan lineage

Thibaud Gruber, Zanna Clay, Klaus Zuberbuehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, are the most sophisticated tool-users among all nonhuman primates. From an evolutionary perspective, it is therefore puzzling that the tool use behaviour of their closest living primate relative, the bonobo, Pan paniscus, has been described as particularly poor. However, only a small number of bonobo groups have been studied in the wild and only over comparably short periods. Here, we show that captive bonobos and chimpanzees are equally diverse tool-users inmost contexts. Our observations illustrate that tool use in bonobos can be highly complex and no different from what has been described for chimpanzees. The only major difference in the chimpanzee and bonobo data was that bonobos of all age-sex classes used tools in a play context, a possible manifestation of their neotenous nature. We also found that female bonobos displayed a larger range of tool use behaviours than males, a pattern previously described for chimpanzees but not for other great apes. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the female-biased tool use evolved prior to the split between bonobos and chimpanzees. (C) 2010 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1033
Number of pages11
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume80
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

Keywords

  • culture
  • great ape
  • neoteny
  • Pan
  • primate evolution
  • sex difference
  • tool use
  • WILD CHIMPANZEES
  • GREAT APES
  • GORILLA-GORILLA
  • HUMAN-EVOLUTION
  • SEX-DIFFERENCES
  • ADULT BONOBOS
  • PANISCUS
  • TROGLODYTES
  • BEHAVIOR
  • PLAY

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