Manual Laterality in Anvil Use: Wild Chimpanzees Cracking Strychnos Fruits

W. C. McGrew*, L. F. Marchant, R. W. Wrangham, H. Klein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) at Gombe National Park, Tanzania, smash open the hard-shelled fruits of Strychnos spp. on anvils of stone or woody vegetation. In this food-processing task, most of the apes show exclusive use of one hand or the other, that is, strong individual hand preferences. Such extreme laterally of manual functioning corresponds to Level 3 on a five-level descriptive model of lateralisation that appears to reflect the increasingly skilful demands of object manipulation. There is precise congruence in laterality between anvil use and another subsistence task involving elementary technology - termite fishing - in almost all cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2000


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