Wild chimpanzees plan their days to improve the chance of finding tasty fruit for breakfast.
Chimps (Pan troglodytes verus) like ripened figs (pictured), but these treats are available only for short periods of time and are sought by other animals. To find out how chimps secure the prized fruit, Karline Janmaat and her colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, monitored five wild female chimps at Taï National Park in the Ivory Coast for 275 days over 2 years. They found that when figs were ripe, the animals often left their bed nests before dawn, and departed earlier when the fig tree was farther away.
Such flexible planning may have supported the evolution of calorie-hungry big brains in other primates and ancient human ancestors, the researchers say.
Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA http://doi.org/ws6 (2014)