Browsing Conservation Science Publications by Author "Curran, Bryan"
Chimpanzee accumulative stone throwingKühl, Hjalmar S.; Kalan, Ammie K.; Arandjelovic, Mimi; Aubert, Floris; D’Auvergne, Lucy; Goedmakers, Annemarie; Jones, Sorrel; Kehoe, Laura; Regnaut, Sebastien; Tickle, Alexander; et al. (2016)The study of the archaeological remains of fossil hominins must rely on reconstructions to elucidate the behaviour that may have resulted in particular stone tools and their accumulation. Comparatively, stone tool use among living primates has illuminated behaviours that are also amenable to archaeological examination, permitting direct observations of the behaviour leading to artefacts and their assemblages to be incorporated. Here, we describe newly discovered stone tool-use behaviour and stone accumulation sites in wild chimpanzees reminiscent of human cairns. In addition to data from 17 mid- to long-term chimpanzee research sites, we sampled a further 34 Pan troglodytes communities. We found four populations in West Africa where chimpanzees habitually bang and throw rocks against trees, or toss them into tree cavities, resulting in conspicuous stone accumulations at these sites. This represents the first record of repeated observations of individual chimpanzees exhibiting stone tool use for a purpose other than extractive foraging at what appear to be targeted trees. The ritualized behavioural display and collection of artefacts at particular locations observed in chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing may have implications for the inferences that can be drawn from archaeological stone assemblages and the origins of ritual sites.
Environmental variability supports chimpanzee behavioural diversityKalan, Ammie K.; Kulik, Lars; Arandjelovic, Mimi; Boesch, Christophe; Haas, Fabian; Dieguez, Paula; Barratt, Christopher D.; Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Agbor, Anthony; Angedakin, Samuel; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020)Large brains and behavioural innovation are positively correlated, species-specific traits, associated with the behavioural flexibility animals need for adapting to seasonal and unpredictable habitats. Similar ecological challenges would have been important drivers throughout human evolution. However, studies examining the influence of environmental variability on within-species behavioural diversity are lacking despite the critical assumption that population diversification precedes genetic divergence and speciation. Here, using a dataset of 144 wild chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) communities, we show that chimpanzees exhibit greater behavioural diversity in environments with more variability — in both recent and historical timescales. Notably, distance from Pleistocene forest refugia is associated with the presence of a larger number of behavioural traits, including both tool and non-tool use behaviours. Since more than half of the behaviours investigated are also likely to be cultural, we suggest that environmental variability was a critical evolutionary force promoting the behavioural, as well as cultural diversification of great apes.