The ontogeny of complex tool use among chimpanzees of the Goualougo Triangle, Republic of Congo

Stephanie Musgrave

Stephanie studies the ontogeny of complex tool skills among chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) of the Goualougo Triangle, Republic of Congo. These chimpanzees have one of the most complex tool repertoires among nonhumans, including four tool sets to gather termites from above-ground and subterranean nests, gather honey, and dip for ants. Drawing on both direct observations and camera trap footage of chimpanzee tool use and social behavior, Stephanie’s research aims to differentiate social learning mechanisms across multiple tool tasks and evaluate competing hypotheses for sex differences in the acquisition of tool skills. This research will provide novel insights into how chimpanzee tool traditions are maintained over generations and assist in modeling how social learning and sexual differentiation in foraging may have contributed to the emergence of complex technology in the human lineage.