Chimps Create and Use Tools

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Chimps use technology, just like us.

Is it a Planet of the Apes takeover? Has Marvel comics’ Red Ghost genetically engineered super apes and let them loose around Africa? No, chimps really can use technology, of a sort. But there’s nothing to worry about. Unless you’re a carpenter ant, that is.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes / 20th Century Fox
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes / 20th Century Fox

For your average chimp, ants taste great, but what to do when the little dudes hide out inside a tree trunk?

Chimps don’t have long tongues like a sloth bear. Nor an aardvark’s protruding nasal implements. They do though, have something extremely large between her ears. No, not that bit of poop flung by rival chimp that’s just stuck to their forehead. I’m talking about the chimp’s brain.

Chips have brain enough to assess problems like these and to scour the environment for the most obvious solution. Eventually, they’ll come up with a small twig, a bit of grass or a leaf. Something that will probe right into the ants’ nest.

Sometimes chimps trim their twig tools at the end, remove side twigs and excess bark. They’ll use sticks to get in termite mounds and honey bee nests, too, and bigger sticks as spears to spike tasty little bush babies hiding in small holes in trees. Chimps have even been known to shove sticks up the rear ends of tortoises. Although for some reason they don’t eat the reptiles once they’re dead.


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Chimps also use sticks, hopefully not the tortoise sticks, as toothbrushes, and sharp stones to split open hard, fibrous Treculia fruit. They then use the stones, or sharp pieces of wood to cut the volleyball sized fruit up into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Chimps using tools

Chimps will even sometimes utilize tools to fend off unwanted visitors, such as a drone. Watch that here.chimp drone

Bonobos, which are closely related to chimps, have also been seen using tools. Watch the video below to see one of these great apes make a fire and roast marshmallows: