Chimpanzees, like this mother and child in Republic of Congo, is an endangered species closely related to bonobos, gorillas, orangutans . . . and human beings.

Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic
  • On May 17, 2005, a female chimpanzee in near the Fongoli stream in the savanna of Senegal was observed using a spear to hunt a bush baby (a tiny primate that lives in trees). Researchers reported the chimp, Tumbo, sharpened a branch with her teeth and held it like a spear in her hand. She rammed the spear into a hole in a tree trunk, where a bush baby was cowering. Tumbo then cracked open the trunk and ate the animal.
    Chimpanzees had long been observed creating and using tools, most famously shedding leaves from thin branches to “fish” for termites underground. Apes had also been observed in organized hunts for other animals. Tumbo, however, was the first chimpanzee seen using a tool to hunt another animal. This behavior was previously only observed in human beings.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    behavior Noun

    anything an organism does involving action or response to stimulation.

    bush baby Noun

    small mammal (primate) native to Central African forests.

    chimpanzee Noun

    large, intelligent ape native to Africa.

    hunt Verb

    to pursue and kill an animal, usually for food.

    observe Verb

    to watch.

    previous Adjective

    earlier, or the one before.

    primate Noun

    type of mammal, including humans, apes, and monkeys.

    savanna Noun

    type of tropical grassland with scattered trees.

    spear Noun

    weapon made of a long metal or wooden shaft with a sharp, pointed end.

    stream Noun

    body of flowing water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: stream
    termite Noun

    small insect that feeds on wood.

    tool Noun

    instrument used to help in the performance of a task.

    trunk Noun

    main shaft or stem of a tree.