Play Behaviors Involving the Use of Objects in Young Chimpanzees at Bossou

  • Masako Myowa-Yamakoshi
  • Gen Yamakoshi
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series


Play behaviors involving the manipulation of objects provide important opportunities for infant chimpanzees to learn various tool-using techniques. In this chapter, we focus on the development of young chimpanzees’ object manipulations in the context of play in their natural habitat. From the age of 3 years, infants start to display a wide diversity of play behaviors. Regarding social play behaviors, 3-year-old infants begin to bring detached objects into interactions with other chimpanzees. Our findings also suggest a marked difference between humans and chimpanzees in social play. In comparison to humans, young chimpanzees have few opportunities to learn about an object’s function with active help from other individuals. Instead, they acquire information mainly through means unique to chimpanzees, involving intense repeated observation of skilled models combined with solitary trial-and-error learning. Differences and similarities in play behavior between chimpanzees and humans may shed important light on the development and the evolution of the unique functioning of the human mind.


Play Behavior Social Play Wild Chimpanzee Social Play Behavior Infant Chimpanzee 
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This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) (Nos. 12002009 and 16002001 to T. Matsuzawa, 10041168 to Y. Sugiyama, and 16683003 and 19680013 to M. Myowa-Yamakoshi), MEXT Grants-in-Aid for the 21st Century COE Program (A2 and D2 to Kyoto University), a research fellowship for Young Scientists from JSPS (No. 3642 to M. Myowa-Yamakoshi), the JSPS Core-to-Core HOPE program, and the Cooperative Research Program of the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University. I wish to thank T. Matsuzawa, Y. Sugiyama, and S. Hirata for their help and their assistance in the field. Thanks are also owed to Direction Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique, and Institut de Recherche Environnementale de Bossou of the Republic of Guinea, for permission to conduct this study, and G. Goumy, T. Camara, P. Goumy, P. Chérif, and D. Samy for their assistance in the field.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Asian and African Area StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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