Jane's first big discovery: chimps eat meat

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 4:26pm

At 7:40 a.m. on October 30, sitting on her Peak, Jane heard a wild commotion in the treetops below her. She heard some "angry little screams," and finally saw 1 of 3 chimpanzees grasping something pink. Two bushpigs ran around the base of the tree, and chased a smaller chimpanzee up it. Baboons tried to get close, snarling and skirmishing with the chimps. Eventually the chimp with the coveted goods moved out onto a high, bare branch and Jane could see he was holding a piece of carcass. As the chimp enjoyed his meal, Jane noticed he alternated bites of meat with bites of leaves, and that a female with an infant approached to beg for a morsel.

Jane had made the first observation of wild chimps eating meat.

JGI videographer Bill Wallauer has a shot of the ridge where Jane first saw the meat-eating, taken with a gigapan camera. Check it out here and be sure to zoom in to see detail and zoom out to see the ridge in its entirety.

 Below you can watch a National Geographic video that depicts the high level of excitement and agitation during a kill. Look for shots of Frodo, one of Gombe's most successful hunters.


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