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Chimpanzees show greater behavioural and cultural diversity in more variable environments

Both historical and recent variation in ecological and environmental conditions are associated with larger behavioural repertoires in wild chimpanzees

Chimpanzee behavioural and cultural diversity has been well documented across equatorial Africa, however, the ecological-evolutionary mechanisms are not yet understood. An international team led by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) has investigated the influence of environmental variability on the behavioural repertoires of 144 social groups. The scientists found that chimpanzees living further away from historical forest refugia, under more seasonal conditions, and found in savannah woodland rather than closed forested habitats, were more likely to exhibit a larger set of behaviours.

© R. Drummond-Clarke/GMERC