Los chimpanzees They use hilltops near territorial borders to gather intelligence on rival groups, often before conducting incursions into enemy territory at times when the risk of confrontation is low.
That is the conclusion of a study carried out by researchers from institutions of Germany, Ivory Coast, United States, France or United Kingdomand published in the journal ‘PLOS Biology’.
Until now, the tactical use of high terrain in war situations was considered exclusive to humans. For the first time, one of the oldest military strategies has been observed in chimpanzees, which are the closest evolutionary relatives.
The researchers conducted a three-year study of two groups of neighboring chimpanzees in forests in the Ivory Coast. They tracked the primates as they traversed their respective territories, including an overlapping border zone where occasional skirmishes.
The team found that chimpanzees were more than twice as likely to climb hills when heading towards this disputed border than when traveling towards the heart of their own territory.