Behavioural Diversity among the Wild Chimpanzee Populations of Bossou and Neighbouring Areas, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa
Tatyana Humle, Tetsuro Matsuzawa
We present a preliminary report on the differences and similarities in material culture among four neighbouring chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) communities. One of these communities includes Bossou, a long-term field site of wild chimpanzees, in Guinea, West Africa. We also conducted surveys of three new sites. Two of those surveyed areas, Seringbara in Guinea and Yealé in Côte d’Ivoire, are located less than 12 km away from Bossou in the Nimba Mountains region, which forms a natural boundary between Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. The third, Diécké, is situated further south-west, closer to the border with Liberia. During the surveys, we gathered behavioural information about these neighbouring populations of chimpanzees. The differences, as well as similarities, in material culture were tabulated based on our findings. The three behavioural variants found so far involve differences in nut cracking behaviour with regard to the species of nut cracked. Some variation in materials used for nut cracking has also been recorded. However, we still need to establish whether these local variations can be explained by the demands of the physical and biotic environments in which the populations of chimpanzees live. If these alternative hypotheses can be excluded with continuing research at the study sites, these differences are likely to be cultural behaviours that are influenced by the social context and mode, i.e. horizontal, vertical or oblique, of transmission, by the social structure and organisation of each community and/or perhaps by some form of social norms prevalent within these communities.
Chimpanzee, Material culture, Nut cracking, Cultural variants