Led by Karline Janmaat from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, the study showcase the kind of competition among the chimpanzees to avoid hurdles in the morning like attacks from leopards or start their journey early if their nests are far from the breakfast spot so as to reach ahead of others for the event. In addition, they love figs and go all the way to obtain the scare fruit for the breakfast.
“It was thrilling to see chimpanzee mums and their young carefully treading the forest floor during twilight, behaving skittish and on guard while moving towards their early morning breakfast figs,” said Karline Janmaat. “One fifth of these mornings they left before sunrise and the rest of the forest seemed sound asleep,” Janmaat said.
However, the study sample was too small to generalize it as the researchers were able to monitor only five adult female chimpanzees. During their research period, they recorded when and where the five chimps had spent the night and acquired food.
“As humans we are familiar with the race against birds for our cherries, or against squirrels for our walnuts and pecans but this race is carried out amongst competitors of all kinds of species in locations all over the world,” said co-author Leo Polansky, an associate researcher in the University of California, Davis and part of the team that conducted the research.
“Long-term, detailed information from the field can reveal the value of high levels of cognition and behavioural flexibility for efficiently obtaining critical food resources in complex environments,” Polansky said.
Spread over a span of 275 days during the three fruit-shortage periods, the research was conducted in the west-African Tai National Park in Cote d’Ivoire. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).