Chimpanzees have nutcracker neighborhoods

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We know that disparate chimp tribes separated by large areas have different behaviors and cultures, but what about those near to one another? It appears that neighboring chimpanzees do act differently in one key way: how they crack open nuts.

Three groups of chimpanzees living in Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire, all of are adjacent and come in contact with one another. Yet all three have different approach to opening the local Coula nuts. The groups express their preference for both material (wood or stone) and size. No one type is universally more efficient or easier to find, and all the groups have access to the same materials and same plants, discarding a purely practical explanation.

These three groups of chimps are not genetically distinct, either — some individuals moved from group to group, and in those cases adopted the neighborhood style. This is differing chimpanzee culture on a much more fine grained level than ever noted before, one not defined by large geographical or genetic splits.


So, there's a chimpanzee version of the annoying local homeowners association which decides what color you can paint your house, except these guys choose how you prepare food.

Image: This image show a wild chimp as he/she uses a hammer to crack nuts. Credit: Luncz et al. Current Biology