Cooperative Hunting by Chimpanzees
Posted by dlende on October 17, 2008
The following video is the best illustration I have ever seen of how chimpanzees hunt together in coordinated fashion, with different individuals having different roles. It combines both on-the-ground video and overhead infrared to illustrate just how this group of chimpanzees manages a successful hunt of colobus monkeys. Incredible footage!
(If it doesn’t play, try going directly to the You Tube clip.)
Christophe Boesch has spear-headed the research to document hunting roles among chimpanzees. He published on cooperative hunting in a 1994 Animal Behaviour article (pdf) and discussed hunting roles, meat sharing, and learning more specifically in a 2002 Human Nature article (pdf).
Craig Stanford is another researcher who has focused on hunting by chimpanzees. He has written this online essay, The Predatory Behavior and Ecology of Wild Chimpanzees, which is an excellent overview of what we know about chimpanzee predatory behavior.
John Mitani has also published on why male chimpanzees hunt and share meat; in 2002 John also provided an overview about recent developments in the study of wild chimpanzee behavior. I posted more video on chimpanzee behavior, including hunting, just this week – so check that out for more footage.
For what chimpanzee hunting means about our own evolution, we have two contrasting views – hunters vs. being hunted. Craig Stanford has a 2001 popular book The Hunting Ape: Meat Eating and the Origins of Human Behavior. That book should be tempered by the more recent Man the Hunted: Primates, Predation and Human Evolution.