It has been known for some time that animals sometimes use objects to obtain food. Stones, sticks and pieces of iron wire are used to crack the food or to tinker food such as insects or honey out from small holes.
Recently, a group of researchers found out that chimps, and especially one group of chimps from Congo, not only uses tools but also improves these tools to make them more efficient. By fraying the ends of a stick, the monkey would fish out an average of 5 termites, whereas it would only get an average of 0.3 termites when using a normal stick.
Researchers from Germany, Great Britain and Congo discovered that 80 percent of the sticks that the monkeys had used had been adapted for use. This technique of fraying the ends of the stick is not seen in chimp in the east of Africa. This shows that the behaviour is taught.
The results are published in the scientific journal “Biology Letters”.