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Use of leaves to inspect ectoparasites in wild chimpanzees: a third cultural variant?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


C Assersohn, Andrew Whiten, ZT Kiwede, J Tinka, J Karamagi

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We report 26 cases of using leaves as tools with which wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in the Sonso community, Budongo Forest, Uganda, appeared to inspect objects removed during grooming. Careful removal of potential ectoparasites and delicate lip or manual placement on leaves followed by intense visual examination characterised this behaviour. It appears to be done to judge whether either ingestion or discarding is most appropriate, the former occurring in most cases. This behaviour may represent a third variant of ectoparasite handling, different from those described at Tai and Gombe, yet sharing features with the latter. These two East African techniques may thus have evolved from leaf grooming.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-258
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004

    Research areas

  • chimpanzee, culture, custom, ectoparasite, grooming, TERMITES, TOOLS

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