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Humle / Poster

Investigation into the cultural and ecological factors leading to differences in behaviour among two recently isolated neighbouring populations of West African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus)

Tatyana Humle, University of Stirling, UK
Tetsuro Matsuzawa, PRI of Kyoto University, Japan

     Field studies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) have revealed distinctive differences in behavioural repertoire suggesting significant cultural variation across populations and communities. Systematic synthesis of these cultural variants has recently been accomplished based primarily on information acquired from long-term field studies of chimpanzees across Africa. This comprehensive picture urges further inquiries into the processes and mechanisms of transmission taking place and into the shape and form of these cultural variants in wild chimpanzee populations. A long-term project of Kyoto University Primate Research Institute (KUPRI) aims to address these issues (Matsuzawa & Yamakoshi, 1996). An area incorporating Bossou and the Monts Nimba, Guinea and the Ivory Coast side of the Nimba mountains and surrounding regions is being the focus of such an investigation. A small population of chimpanzees can be found at the Bossou site, which was set up in 1976 by Sugiyama, KUPRI, and three groups and maybe more reside at the Nimba site, Ivory Coast, established in 1993 by Matsuzawa and Yamakoshi. TH, the first author, has had the opportunity to visit Bossou three times and the Nimba site, Ivory Coast, twice since 1995 (Humle, 1999). During these visits and those of other researchers from KUPRI, we have been able to gather evidence of cultural variation between these populations and those found in the surrounding area (Matsuzawa et al, 1999). In collaboration with researchers and students from KUPRI, we have begun and hope to continue to explore differences in material culture, nesting behaviour and feeding repertoire between Bossou and Nimba, the two neighbouring communities. We would like to summarise some of those findings, as well as present, the study which TH aims to undertake, as part of her PhD project, and which we hope will contribute to the larger picture which we are seeking to obtain.

Matsuzawa, T., Takemoto, H., Hayakawa, S. &Shimada, M. 1999. Diecke forest in Guinea. Pan Africa News 6(1): 10-11.
Matsuzawa, T. & Yamakoshi, G. 1996. Comparison of chimpanzee material culture between Bossou and Nimba, West Africa. In: Reaching into Thought: The Mind of the Great Apes. Eds. Russon, A.E., Bard, K.A. and Parker, S. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 211-232.
Humle, T. 1999. New record of fishing for termites (Macrotermes) by the chimpanzees of Bossou (Pan troglodytes verus), Guinea.