Chimpanzee Behavior Isn’t Just Monkey Business. It’s Culture.

Grooming, Using Tools, and Fishing for Termites Show the Humanity of Our Primate Cousins

In 1961, famed primatologist Jane Goodall discovered that wild chimpanzees were fashioning tools from sticks and using them to fish termites out of their nests—revolutionizing our understanding of culture and animal intelligence. Her mentor Louis Leakey telegrammed her that “now, we must redefine ‘tool,’ redefine ‘man,’ or accept chimpanzees as humans.”

Nearly 60 years later, this redefinition—of chimps, culture, and ourselves—continues. There are now seven chimpanzee field studies that span more than 25 years, as well as many shorter ones. These long-term studies have produced exciting new information on …

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