Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: All of us might have of many things that are beyond believe but this is something that is truly unbelievable. Did you ever think about the fact that chimpanzees shop in a similar manner as humans do? No, it's something unprecedented.
In a research conducted at Dartmouth College in the US, researchers have arrived at a conclusion that chimps too use their sensory powers to evaluate and choose figs.
The study demonstrates the foraging advantages of opposable fingers and careful manual prehension (the act of grasping an object with precision).
The findings shed new light on the ecological origins of hands with fine motor control, a trait that enabled our early human ancestors to manufacture and use stone tools.
“The supreme dexterity of the human hand is unsurpassed among mammals, a fact that is often linked to early tool use," said lead author Nathaniel J Dominy, professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College in the US.
For the study, Dominy and his colleagues observed the foraging behaviours of chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus monkeys, red colobus monkeys and red-tailed monkeys in Kibale National Park, Uganda.
The primates depended on figs. To determine if the green figs are edible, chimpanzees ascend trees and make a series of sensory assessments.
They look at the fig's colour, smell the fig, manually palpate or touch each fig to assess the fruit's elasticity and bite the fig to determine the stiffness of the fruit.
Colobus monkeys do not have thumbs and evaluate the ripeness of figs by using their front teeth.
The team observed the non-selection, rejection and ingestion of individual figs by chimps and collected specimens of figs.
Based on the sensory data obtained, the team estimated the predictive power that sensory information may have on chimpanzees when estimating the ripeness of figs.
(With IANS inputs)