Science News

Chimps Show Remarkable Food-preparation and Combination Skills

Sun, 27th Aug 2000

Chimpanzees are on their way to becoming half-decent chefs! Captive chimps in Madrid have begun to puree their own fruits and vegetables, in what looks like the first case of an ape transforming food to improve its taste and texture. Although chimps have traditionally used all sorts of methods to get food such as fishing termites out with sticks and bashing palm nuts open with rocks, these are not cases of transformation of food in the human way! Transformation involves grinding or heating food to make it a tad more a la carte, and a chimp called Linda has started this trend for the more discerning chimp. Although she hasn’t actually got round to demanding a cooker, this toothless chimp made a virtue out of necessity by rubbing fruit or veg on sharp corners, and licking off the puree. Before she knew it all her other mates in the zoo compound were at it, preparing food in a way that changes both its texture and flavour. Watch out Jamie Oliver!

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