Diécké Forest, Guinea: Delving into Chimpanzee Behavior Using Stone Tool Surveys

  • Susana Carvalho
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series


The Forest of Diécké, about 50 km west of Bossou, is the second largest protected reserve in the region of Guinée Forestiére. This forest is currently an important refuge for endemic species of fauna and flora. It is one of 12 major sites for biodiversity conservation in West Africa. In 1999, Kyoto University Primate Research Institute (KUPRI) initiated chimpanzee research is this area to gather comparative data to the long-term site of Bossou, as Diécké chimpanzees use stone and wooden tools to crack nuts of Panda oleosa and Coula edulis. Between 2006 and 2008, the first surveys with an etho-archaeological approach focused on regional variations in stone-tool use within different groups of wild chimpanzees to study the emergence of technology. These pilot surveys, carried out with the cooperation of local teams, expanded our understanding of chimpanzee behavior across a larger expanse of the reserve. We set up temporary camps in the core of the forest and established the first research encampment. In 2009, we broadened the research scope, mapping raw material sources, and measuring their availability along 4-km-long transect lines and quadrats. An archaeological excavation revealed strata harboring stone artifacts. In addition, for the first time the chimpanzees of Diecké were photographed and video-recorded. The main results are reported here concerning the state of the art of chimpanzee research mainly during the first research period: recording and monitoring of new nut-cracking sites; indirect records of the presence of the chimpanzees; diversity between Bossou and Diécké nut-cracking technologies; and descriptions of the ecology and the geomorphology of the area, and the conservation management of the forest of Diécké, aimed at understanding the impact of human harvest of resources.


Wild Chimpanzee World Wildlife Fund Blue Duiker Temporary Camp Bossou Chimpanzee 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I wish to thank the Direction National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique, République de Guinée, and Dr. Kourouma Makan, Director of the Institut de Recherche Environnementale de Bossou, for permission to conduct fieldwork at Diécké. I would also like to thank Dr. Papa Cécé Condé from the Centre Forestier de N’Zérékoré, Dr. Werner Grimmelman (Progerfor) and Prof. Tetsuro Matsuzawa for their support and collaboration. We are grateful to the British Embassy in Conakry for funding the construction of the first latrines in the village of Korouhan. The research was supported by Grants-in-Aid for scientific research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture of Japan: MEXT-16002001, JSPS-HOPE, JSPS-21COE-Kyoto-Biodiversity, and F-06-61 of the Ministry of Environment, Japan, to Tetsuro Matsuzawa. S.C. was supported by The Municipality of Leiria; Cambridge European Trust (RIB 00107), FCT-Portugal (SFRH/BD/36169/2007), The Wenner-Gren Foundation, Queens College Cambridge, and the Leakey Trust (U.K.). I finally wish to thank B. Zogbila, H. Gbéregbé, J. Doré, P. Goumy, J.M. Kolié, J. Malamu, L. Tokpa, A. Kbokmo, C. Koti, O. Mamy, C. Clement, Justin, C. Kanou, Jean, and the villages of Nonah and Korohouan for the field support and J. Morgadinho for the design work. Last, I am particularly grateful to C. Sousa for guidance during my 2006 research and to P. Kelmendi, S. Koski, T. Humle, and W.C. McGrew for comments on the manuscript.


  1. Bah M, Thiam A, Keita A, Sylla S, Barry MH, Lauriault J (1997) Monographie nationale sur la diversité biologique, GF-1605-92-74 PNUE. Ministère des Travaux Publics et de L’environnement et Direction Nationale de L’environnement. République de Guinée. 147 pp (unpublished)Google Scholar
  2. Banning EB (2002) Archaeological survey. Manuals in archaeological method, theory, and technique. Kluwer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Biro D, Humle T, Koops K, Sousa C, Hayashi M, Matsuzawa T (2010) Chimpanzee mothers at Bossou, Guinea carry the mummified remains of their dead infants. Curr Biol 20:R351–R352PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Black R, Sessay M (1997) Forced migration, land-use change and political economy in the forest region of Guinea. Afr Aff (Lond) 96:587–605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bourque JD, Wilson R (1990) Rapport de l’Étude d’Impact Ecologique d’un Projet Amenagement Forestier Concernant les Forêts Classées de Ziama et de Diécké en République de Guinée. IUCN, Gland, 121 ppGoogle Scholar
  6. Caldecott J, Kapos V (2005) Great ape habitats: tropical moist forests of the old world. In: Caldecott J, Miles L (eds) World atlas of great apes and their conservation. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  7. Carvalho S (2007) Applying the concept of chaîne opératoire to nut-cracking: an approach based on studying communities of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in Bossou and Diecké (Guinea). Masters Thesis, University of Coimbra, PortugalGoogle Scholar
  8. Carvalho S, Sousa C, Matsuzawa T (2007) New nut-cracking sites in Diecké Forest, Guinea: an overview of the surveys. Pan Africa News 14:11–13Google Scholar
  9. Carvalho S, Cunha E, Sousa C, Matsuzawa T (2008) Chaînes opératoires and resource exploitation strategies in chimpanzee nut-cracking (Pan troglodytes). J Hum Evol 55:148–163PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clark JD (1967) The atlas of African prehistory. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Delorne N (1998) Aménagement forestier en Guinée – Etude de cas, série FORAFRI, Document 6, CIRAD-Forêt, Montpellier,185 pGoogle Scholar
  12. Dux D, Souaré El HS, Kamano P (2002) Atlas Scolaire de la Guinée. PRINT-64, Germany, 60 ppGoogle Scholar
  13. World Wildlife Fund (2007) Western Guinean lowland forests. In: Cleveland CJ (ed) Encyclopedia of earth. Environmental information coalition. National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  14. Gradstein FM, Ogg JG, Smith AG (2004) A geologic time scale 2004. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Harris E (1989) Principles of archaeological stratigraphy. Academic, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Humle T, Matsuzawa T (2001) Behavioural diversity among the wild chimpanzee populations of Bossou and neighbouring areas, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa. Folia Primatol 72:57–68PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kormos R, Humle T, Brugière D, Fleury-Brugière M-C, Matsuzawa T, Sugiyama Y, Carter J, Diallo MS, Sagno C, Tounkara EO (2003b) Status surveys and recommendations: country reports: The Republic of Guinea. In: Kormos R, Boesch C, Bakarr MI, Butynski TM (eds) Status survey and conservation action plan: West African Chimpanzees. IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group, Gland and Cambridge, pp 63–76Google Scholar
  18. Kühl H, Maisels F, Ancrenaz M, Williamson EA (2008) Best practice guidelines for surveys and monitoring of great ape populations. IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group (PSG), GlandGoogle Scholar
  19. Matsuzawa T (1999) Communication and tool use in chimpanzees: cultural and social context. In: Hauser M, Konishi M (eds) The design of animal communication. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 645–671Google Scholar
  20. Matsuzawa T, Takemoto H, Hayakawa S, Shimada M (1999) Diécké forest in Guinea. Pan Africa News 6:10–11Google Scholar
  21. Mercader J (ed) (2003) Under the canopy. The archaeology of tropical rain forests. Rutgers University Press, New BrunswickGoogle Scholar
  22. Mercader J, Panger M, Boesch C (2002) Excavation of a chimpanzee stone tool site in the African rainforest. Science 296:1452–1455PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mercader J, Barton H, Gillespie J, Harris J, Kuhn S, Tyler R, Boesch C (2007) 4,300-year-old chimpanzee sites and the origins of percussive stone technology. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Renfrew C, Bahn P (1998) Arqueología, Teorías, métodos y práctica. 2ª edicíon. Ediciones Akal, MadridGoogle Scholar
  25. Sanz C, Morgan D, Gulick S (2004) New insights into chimpanzees, tools, and termites from the Congo Basin. Am Nat 164:567–581PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sugiyama Y, Soumah AG (1988) Preliminary survey of the distribution and population of chimpanzees in the Republic of Guinea. Primates 29:569–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. White L, Abernethy K (1996) Guide de la vegetation de la reserve de la Lopé. Écofac Gabon/Multipress Gabon, GabonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, Department of Biological AnthropologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations