How did chimpanzees learn to use sticks to get termites out of their hole?



  1. 0 Votes

    The “how” question is tough to answer. As Mike mentioned, chimps usually learn this complex behavior from older chimps they live with. However, this leads to the ultimate question of where the behavior came from. It’s not a very satisfying answer, but at some point during the evolutionary process a chimp got the “idea” to try using a stick to help get termites out. That chimp was more successful than his kin, and produced more offspring, and his offspring were better at tool-use than others. And so on and so forth, until we reach today, where chimps have the intellectual capacity to invent rudimentary tools and the cultural capacity to teach their offspring what they’ve learned about tool use.

  2. 0 Votes

    This is probably something that came about from experimentation, like most knowledge. Maybe a chimp was simply playing around, or even hitting at a termite mound in frustration when it realized that some of the termites had crawled onto the stick. S/he would have immediately eaten the termites and then taken the same action again. In time, others might have seen this and perfected the method, until it has evolved to what to the methods used today.

    For further info on this, consider the Hundredth Monkey Syndrome/Phenomenon/Effect, below.

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