Chimpanzees chat before going hunting

Hunting is not an intrinsic characteristic of chimpanzees. Some groups practice it regularly, others do not, including in geographically neighboring communities. Credit: Eduard –

Some groups practice hunting together, and the vocalizations exchanged improve the motivation and efficiency of the participants.

Agreeing before a hunting trip, or any collective activity, is such complex behavior that it seems typically human. And yet, what is called “verbal collaboration” is not unique to humanity. It has been observed in particular in chimpanzees, and may in fact have originated millions of years ago in a common ancestor of modern humans and great apes. A team of scientists led by Joseph G. Mine, from the University of Zurich (Germany), studied field data collected between 1996 and 2018 on 307 chimpanzee hunting parties in Uganda. He demonstrates that the more monkeys manage to communicate, the more their cooperation is fruitful.

Chimpanzees have the particularity of hunting in groups, unlike other great apes. “We have observed hunting phenomena in bonobos, but it is more opportunistic huntingexplains Victor Narat, CNRS researcher in the eco-anthropology unit…

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