Inter-community behavioural variation confirmed through indirect methods in four neighbouring chimpanzee communities in Cantanhez NP, Guinea-Bissau

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Abstract

Culture, while long viewed as exclusively human, has now been demonstrated across diverse taxa and contexts. However, most animal culture data are constrained to well-studied, habituated groups. This is the case for chimpanzees, arguably the most ‘cultural’ non-human species. While much progress has been made charting wild chimpanzees' cultural repertoire, large gaps remain in our knowledge of the majority of the continent's chimpanzees. Furthermore, few studies have compared neighbouring communities, despite such comparisons providing the strongest evidence for culture, and few have studied communities living in anthropogenic habitats although their culture is in imminent danger of disappearing. Here we combine direct, indirect and remote methods, including camera traps, to study, over 2 years, four unhabituated neighbouring chimpanzee communities inhabiting human-impacted habitats in Cantanhez NP, Guinea-Bissau. From traces collected during 1089 km of reconnaissance walks and 4197 videos from 56 camera trap locations, we identified 18 putative cultural traits. These included some noteworthy novel behaviours for these communities, and behaviours possibly new to the species. We created preliminary behavioural profiles for each community, and found inter-community differences spanning tool use, communication, and social behaviour, demonstrating the importance of comparing neighbouring communities and of studying previously neglected communities including those inhabiting anthropogenic landscapes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number211518
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Animal culture
  • Behavioural variation
  • Pan troglodytes verus
  • Anthropogenic habitat

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