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Video: chimps caught on camera teaching and learning

By Tim Sandle     Oct 5, 2014 in Science
Scientists have captured stunning footage of wild chimpanzees teaching each other to use tools. The researchers argue that the primates are engaging in social learning.
Biologists have captured wild chimpanzees transmitting knowledge to one another in a video. Analysis of the footage indicates that chimps may have “cultures” that spread throughout populations. The video is of chimps that live in the Budongo Forest of Uganda.
In the video, chimps are seen using clumps of moss as tools to soak up and drink water. As more experienced apes engaged in “moss-sponging,” younger chimps look on and later they are seen to imitate the behavior of the adults, in order to quench their own thirsts. The learned behavior then spread throughout the community. The researchers concluded that the chimps are transmitting the group-specific behaviors via social learning.
Discussing the video, Thibaud Gruber, a primatologist from the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, told The Verge: “The chimpanzees just decided to display this novel behavior right in front of us and we only needed our camcorders to capture the scenes.”
In another interview, this time with the BBC, Catherine Hobaiter, from the University of St. Andrews, said: "It was just this wonderfully clear example of social learning that no-one had in the wild before."
The researchers have also published a paper in PLOS Biology, titled "Social Network Analysis Shows Direct Evidence for Social Transmission of Tool Use in Wild Chimpanzees."
In related research, Digital Journal recently reported that chimpanzees may reinforce social bonds with each other by involuntarily mimicking a fellow chimp’s pupil size.
More about Chimpanzee, Chimps, Apes, Jungle
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