Ape and Monkey Tool Use in the Wild

Ape and Monkey Tool Use in the Wild

Primate Tools Use in the Wild

Humans are Primates, and of course we use an enormous variety of tool. In fact, just at the moment I am using a computer which is clearly a tool. However, this article is more about the use of tools by other primates, especially apes. All the Apes have been observed using tools in the wild.


The Chimpanzee,Pan troglodytes, is probably the ape that uses the most tools in the wild. They not only use tools, but will also make them.


To get Termites out of a Termite nest, Chimpanzees will use a twig or small branch. If it has leaves on it, they will remove the leaves. This is a simple example of tool making. It has been observed many times in the wild. I have already seen it myself, but in my case it was it a zoo.

The verb, to ape, truly method to imitate. Probably the young apes imitate the older ones in the group and learn how to do this. It has been suggested that young Chimpanzees while playing have a inclination to stick things into holes.

Having had four children I can easily believe that this is true. I remember carefully putting special dummy plugs into all the unused strength sockets in our house to prevent our babies and toddlers sticking things into the live sockets. Of course our house has Earth Leakage Detectors giving electronic protection against electrocution, but we do not rely on these.


Chimpanzees will use several stones to crack nuts. One larger stone is used as an anvil while a smaller one is used to hammer the nut to break it. If the anvil stone is at the wrong level, the Chimp will level it with wedges.

Cutting up Food

except cracking nuts, Chimps have been observed to cut up food into more easily managed sizes with stone or wooden choppers.


If Chimpanzees a faced with a Leopard they will attack the predator with in any case is obtainable, hurling sticks and stones at it in addition as picking up large sticks to use as clubs. If necessary, they will break off small trees to use as clubs.


Chimps will also use make and use weapons including early spears. These are made of wood and the end is sharpened with the teeth. These spears are far simpler than the complex weapons made by some groups of Humans.


Tool use by the Bonobo, Pan paniscus, is similar to that by the Chimpanzee. They have not been observed to make spears, but their different diet and way of life may average that they have less need for weapons.

Other Primates

Gorillas, Orangutans, Gibbons and some Monkeys have been observed to use tools in the wild although none of them to the extent of the Chimps and Bonobos.

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