Wild chimpanzees show group differences in selection of agricultural crops

Matthew R. McLennan, Kimberley J. Hockings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
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The ability of wild animals to respond flexibly to anthropogenic environmental changes, including agriculture, is critical to survival in human-impacted habitats. Understanding use of human foods by wildlife can shed light on the acquisition of novel feeding habits and how animals respond to human-driven land-use changes. Little attention has focused on within-species variation in use of human foods or its causes. We examined crop-feeding in two groups of wild chimpanzees-a specialist frugivore-with differing histories of exposure to agriculture. Both groups exploited a variety of crops, with more accessible crops consumed most frequently. However, crop selection by chimpanzees with long-term exposure to agriculture was more omnivorous (i.e., less fruit-biased) compared to those with more recent exposure, which ignored most non-fruit crops. Our results suggest chimpanzees show increased foraging adaptations to cultivated landscapes over time; however, local feeding traditions may also contribute to group differences in crop-feeding in this species. Understanding the dynamic responses of wildlife to agriculture can help predict current and future adaptability of species to fast-changing anthropogenic landscapes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5956
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2014


  • Protected area
  • Elephantidae
  • Elephant


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