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Humans pride themselves on having extensive and diverse cultures. However, cultures can also be observed in animals. The research presented in this video aims at understanding the cultures of wild chimpanzee populations in several African countries and how they differ from each other. As chimpanzees avoid human contact, CHRISTOPHE BOESCH explains, the research team conducted the study by setting up camera traps to catch chimpanzee behavior on video. Forty locations were carefully selected to make sure interesting behavioral patterns would be observable. The vast amount of video material reveals how the diversity of chimpanzee culture is still underestimated: the chimpanzee groups exhibit a surprising variety of behavior, for example in food hunting or display, which is partly shaped by their environment. Sadly, this study also indicates to what extent the habitat of chimpanzees has already been irretrievably destroyed.


Christophe Boesch is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig as well as Honorary Professor at the Department of Zoology at the University of Leipzig, Germany. His research revolves around the cultures of primates, especially chimpanzees. Among other things he seeks to understand their social interactions, cognitive capacities, tool-use and hunting behavior.
Boesch is also the founder and president of the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation which aims at saving and preserving the remaining wild chimpanzees and their habitat. In 2015, Boesch and his foundation received the St. Andrew Prize for Environment for these efforts.


Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology


The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology was founded in 1997. The institute's aim is to investigate the history of humankind with the help of comparative analyses of different genes, cultures, cognitive abilities, languages and social systems of past and present human populations as well as those of primates closely related to human beings.

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Original publication

Chimpanzee Accumulative Stone Throwing

et al., Kühn Hjalmar S., Kalan Ammie K., Arandjelovic Mimi, Aubert Floris, D'Auvergne Lucy, Goedmackers Annemarie and Boesch Christophe
Scientific Reports
Published in 2016