Researchers Find Zoo Chimps Carefully Planned Attack Used To Take Down Research Drone

After studying video of chimps capturing a drone that was flying around their enclosure, animal researchers say the primates have more ability to pre-plan than had been thought. They say the video, which was taken in April at the Burgers Zoo in Holland, also confirmed Chimps have excellent tool use.

The research confirms that rather than being randomly bothered into taking action the Chimps carefully planned the attack using tools.  

The video shows that when the drone had finished flying through and around the enclosure and had left, several chimps collected branches and then climbed with them to a spot where the drone had hovered the most. When the drone reappeared the chimps were ready, holding up their long branches to knock the drone to the ground, where after examining it closely, they destroyed it by ripping it apart.

According to primatologists, the video shows looks of exertion on the faces of the chimps, but not fear, which indicated they were not just flailing around in terror at the drone, but were acting deliberately.

Primatologist Jan van Hoof, who has been studying the zoo’s chimps for some time, said “The use of the stick as a weapon in this context was a unique action. It seemed deliberate, given the decision to collect it and carry it to a place where the drone might be attacked.”

He said the tool use of the chimps was impressive when one took into consideration they had not been taught how to use the branches as tools to capture the drone.

By studying the drone attacking chimps, the researchers have found the primates, simply by watching humans at the zoo, have figured out how to use 13 unique tools and which ones to use for particular tasks.

Van Hoof said the drone incident adds to increasing evidence, that chimps plan in advance when it comes to using tools.

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