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Distance-decay effect in stone tool transport by wild chimpanzees

Luncz, LV; Proffitt, T; Kulik, L; Haslam, M; Wittig, RM; (2016) Distance-decay effect in stone tool transport by wild chimpanzees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 283 (1845) 10.1098/rspb.2016.1607. Green open access

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Abstract

Stone tool transport leaves long-lasting behavioural evidence in the landscape. However, it remains unknown how large-scale patterns of stone distribution emerge through undirected, short-term transport behaviours. One of the longest studied groups of stone-tool-using primates are the chimpanzees of the Taï National Park in Ivory Coast, West Africa. Using hammerstones left behind at chimpanzee Panda nut-cracking sites, we tested for a distance-decay effect, in which the weight of material decreases with increasing distance from raw material sources. We found that this effect exists over a range of more than 2 km, despite the fact that observed, short-term tool transport does not appear to involve deliberate movements away from raw material sources. Tools from the millennia-old Noulo site in the Taï forest fit the same pattern. The fact that chimpanzees show both complex short-term behavioural planning, and yet produce a landscape-wide pattern over the long term, raises the question of whether similar processes operate within other stone-tool-using primates, including hominins. Where hominin landscapes have discrete material sources, a distance-decay effect, and increasing use of stone materials away from sources, the Taï chimpanzees provide a relevant analogy for understanding the formation of those landscapes.

Type: Article
Title: Distance-decay effect in stone tool transport by wild chimpanzees
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1607
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.1607
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: chimpanzees, distance-decay effect, primate archaeology, stone tools, transport, Africa, Western, Animals, Pan troglodytes, Tool Use Behavior
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10062567
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