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Wild chimpanzees are sensitive to the sound properties of wood

Accumulative stone throwing chimpanzees like tree species with a resonating timbre

An international collaboration of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, the CNRS Lab for Perception, Representations, Image, Sound and Music (PRISM) and the Lab for Mechanical Acoustics (LMA) in Marseille, France, has discovered that one of our closest living relatives is attuned to the sound properties of external objects in their natural environment, namely the wood of different tree species. Using a unique field experiment, the researchers found that chimpanzees living in Boé, Guinea-Bissau, use tree species for accumulative stone throwing behaviour that produce more resonant sounds when hit with rocks compared to other species available in the environment.

© Ammie Kalan