What’s this? Chimps hunt using spears?

That’s what the authors, Jill Pruetz and Paco Bertolani, are reporting in a yet to be published paper in the journal Current Biology.

Since we don’t have the primary source, I’m relying on a news article published by the BBC News Spears used by Chimpanzees for huntingto share this with you. Here’s all I got so far:

“Chimpanzees in Senegal have been observed making and using wooden spears to hunt other primates… Researchers documented 22 cases of chimps fashioning tools to jab at smaller primates sheltering in cavities of hollow branches or tree trunks…. Chimps had not been previously observed hunting other animals with tools.”

This is an important finding, right on the coat tails of the report on the 4,300 year old stone tools used by chimps. I don’t know yet if this is a case where chimps fashioned spears or just selected for sticks that are effective spears (like the best stones that will be good anvils and hammers), but at the very minimum it expands our knowledge base on tool usage in non-human primates.

You can expect me to keep a diligent eye open for this publication. I’ll do my best to read it as soon as I get my grubby hands on it.