A PLoS One study of chimpanzees at Bossou in Republic of Guinea, shows that the male chimpanzees raid farms and orchards for fruit that they steal and bring back to the females. In exchange, the males shared their fruity booty with the females in a food-for-sex trade.

An adult male chimpanzee obtains cultivated papaya fruit.The photo to your right shows one of the sneaky males climbing a cultivated papaya tree to harvest some fruit. The look on his face is priceless.

Of all the evolutionary psychological studies involving chimps I shared with you this past week, this one “Chimpanzees Share Forbidden Fruit,” is the most remarkable. Here’s the abstract, the full text of the article is openly accessible for anyone to enjoy reading in first hand,

“The sharing of wild plant foods is infrequent in chimpanzees, but in chimpanzee communities that engage in hunting, meat is frequently used as a ‘social tool’ for nurturing alliances and social bonds. Here we report the only recorded example of regular sharing of plant foods by unrelated, non-provisioned wild chimpanzees, and the contexts in which these sharing behaviours occur. From direct observations, adult chimpanzees at Bossou (Republic of Guinea, West Africa) very rarely transferred wild plant foods. In contrast, they shared cultivated plant foods much more frequently (58 out of 59 food sharing events). Sharing primarily consists of adult males allowing reproductively cycling females to take food that they possess. We propose that hypotheses focussing on ‘food-for-sex and -grooming’ and ‘showing-off’ strategies plausibly account for observed sharing behaviours. A changing human-dominated landscape presents chimpanzees with fresh challenges, and our observations suggest that crop-raiding provides adult male chimpanzees at Bossou with highly desirable food commodities that may be traded for other currencies.”

If you don’t believe what you’re reading the authors provided two video clips showing some sly and slick male chimp entering what is obviously and occupied by humans (because of the buildings) climbing a tree, stealing fruit, and making a mad dash as if he were a bandit. Then he shares an intimate moment with his lady friend, munching on some fruit.

I’ve edited the clips together and put them up on YouTube for all y’all who can’t play the file types they provided.

About these ads