Abstract # 75:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 7 (South Main Hall) Poster Presentation


HAND USE FOR SIMULATED “TERMITE FISHING” IN CAPTIVE CHIMPANZEES (Pan troglodytes) REPLICATES RESULTS FROM THE WILD

J. L. Russell1, J. Schaeffer1 and W. D. Hopkins1,2
1Yerkes National Primate Research Center, 954 Gatewood Rd., Atlanta, GA 30329, USA, 2Agnes Scott College
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     Population-level handedness has been reported in captive chimpanzees for several behaviors whereas little evidence of asymmetries has been reported in wild apes. Some have suggested that this discrepancy is a consequence of variation in the types of tasks used to assess hand use. We tested this hypothesis by assessing handedness for a simulated “termite fishing” task in 32 captive chimpanzees (10 males, 22 females, mean age=20.22 years, SD=9.24) using an artificial pipe feeder device in an attempt to compare the findings to recent reports of population-level left handedness for termite fishing in wild chimpanzees (Lonsdorf & Hopkins, 2005). The chimpanzees inserted a flexible, thin stick into a hole (7 mm in diameter) in order to extract mustard or yogurt and their hand use was recorded as left or right for each response. A one sample t-test revealed significant population-level left handedness for this behavior [t(31)=-2.33, p<0.05]. In addition, the average time per success for each hand was recorded and a non-significant trend towards females (Mean=6.98 sec) performing better than males (Mean=9.93 sec) was found [t(30)=1.73, p=0.094]. These results are consistent with results from wild chimpanzees and support the view that the lack of similar findings between wild and captive chimpanzees is a reflection of different types of measures used to assess handedness in the two settings.