Chimpanzees Caught Smashing Open Tortoise Shells Then Eating Their Meat

Chimpanzees have been photographed munching tortoises. Recent research published in the journal Scientific Reports recounts how a group in Gabon’s Loango National Park crushed the reptile shells before climbing up trees to enjoy their dinner.

According to the researchers, the chimps’ approach gives “additional support for their extraordinarily extensive and adaptable cognitive tool kits.”

While chimps have been recorded ʜᴜɴᴛɪɴɢ other creatures, this is thought to be the first occasion they have been observed preying on tortoises. Between July 2016 and May 2018, researchers from the University of Osnabruck and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany observed the behavior in the Rekambo chimp colony.

They saw ten animals chasing hinge-back tortoises, which are endemic to Africa, 38 times, with 34 of them succeeding.
The chimps who ʜ.ᴜ.ɴ.ᴛed tortoises were mostly males who utilized a “distinct crushing method.” The tortoise flesh has shared a total of 23 times with other chimps, including some who had been unable to open the shell.

‘In both cases where teenage chimps attempted to bash open a tortoise, they were unsuccessful,’ stated the investigators.
‘As with nut-cracking in chimps – a percussive technology that is only learned at the age of about nine to ten years – the development of a proficient tortoise smashing method may need a certain level of power.’

Furthermore, it may necessitate a rather considerable period of time to learn, practice, and develop.’ The species has been recorded using similar smashing tactics to get into nuts and hard-shelled fruits.

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