Chimpansees halen drone naar beneden en filmen elkaar! (Dutch chimp swats down drone)

September 5, 2015 • 2:30 pm

It’s time to stop bothering our nonhuman relatives with those ubiquitous drones. For, make no mistake about it, the animals don’t like it—and will hit back!

A few days ago we had an Australian eagle taking down a drone, and now we see an affronted chimp doing the same thing. But this story is more remarkable, for it involves animals using novel tools.

First watch the video from ZME Science:

Then read the description at the same link or the short scientific paper in Primates (link at the bottom). An excerpt from the ZME site:

“When the drone came a bit closer to the chimpanzees, a female individual made two sweeps with a branch that she held in one hand. The second one was successful and downed the drone. The use of the stick in this context was a unique action. It seemed deliberate given the decision to collect it and carry it to a place where the drone might be attacked. This episode adds to the indications that chimpanzees engage in forward planning of tool-use acts,” researchers write in the study. [see below]

They sent the drone smashing to the ground, and then looked at it for a while with inquisitive faces, before ultimately abandoning it. The footage went viral across the globe, but people missed a few important details. For example, when the female actually strikes the drone, you can see a grimace: her teeth were clenched and she was obviously tense, but she showed no signs of fear. This suggests that she acted on the drone not out of fear – but as a calculated move. In other words, she planned to attack it.

Prof Jan van Hooff, from Utrecht University, said: “The use of the stick as a weapon in this context was a unique action. It seemed deliberate, given the decision to collect it and carry it to a place where the drone might be attacked. This episode adds to the indications that chimpanzees engage in forward planning of tool-use acts,” Lukkenaar says, explaining the broader significance of the filmed event. This incident also shows the apes cautiously inspecting the contraption and even throwing it around before they lose interest in it.

To make things even more remarkable, chimps at the zoo were never really taught how to use weapons and tools, they just picked it up themselves. Previous studies showed that the chimps at this Dutch zoo spontaneously and innovatively use up to 13 types of tools in a variety of ways, especially with sticks (for example picking up fruits that are too high in the tree).

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van Hoof, J. A. R. A. M. and B. Lukkenaar. 2015. Captive chimpanzee takes down a drone: tool use toward a flying object. Primates, online. DOI 10.1007/s10329-015-0482-2

 

h/t: Ant

 

32 thoughts on “Chimpansees halen drone naar beneden en filmen elkaar! (Dutch chimp swats down drone)

      1. I shall resist the proffered cheap shot at the Belgians. By s thin margin.
        Who wrote the book? – Belgian or French?

              1. “Oh dera!”
                They had noticed, but only after the probe was passing Jupiter.
                I am tlod that there is a “Bristol Exploration Club” (a caving club) sticker in orbit near Saturn at the moment.

  1. Clearly, we’re at the dawn of a new cinéma vérité movie genre. Wonder which international festival will host the inaugural la mort du drone film competition?

  2. I own a couple of Quadcopters/Drones. I would never think of getting that close to a Human let alone a Chimp! As for the Eagle attack, if I was to fly within it’s zone of comfort, or near it’s nest when it had young, I’d expect a reaction. Leave well alone is my advice to drone pilots and don’t piss off your neighbors whether human or animal.

    1. I own a couple of Quadcopters/Drones. I would never think of getting that close to a Human let alone a Chimp!

      Plainly, you think more than the owner of the deceased aeroplane.

  3. Batter up! Anybody tried organizing a chimpanzee softball league?

    …and I’m only half joking. I wouldn’t be too terribly surprised if chimpanzees could learn to play organized team sports.

    b&

  4. “Previous studies showed that the chimps at this Dutch zoo spontaneously and innovatively use up to 13 types of tools in a variety of ways, especially with sticks”

    Probably right after 100 apes figure it out in Africa.

    🙂

  5. It is well known that chimps do forward thinking and that they involve the use of implements in those plans. They will carry a hammer stone for a good distance to a preferred rock that they use as an anvil to crack nuts.

  6. I know the look that was on that chimp’s face when it was swinging the stick. When it occurs in humans, it is accompanied by the phrase “get off my lawn!”

  7. My Dutch is a bit rusty these days, but the second part of that sentence in the title – “en filmen elkaar” – means (I think) something like “and film themselves”.

    So the chimps took a selfie or two before abandoning the downed drone.

    1. Yes, “and film each other”.

      I hadn’t had my coffee yet this morning, so it took me a while to come to my senses and realize that it was odd for the title of this post to be in Dutch.

  8. “Dutch chimp swats down drone”

    What I find far more remarkable about this is that the chimp spoke and understood Dutch!! I cannot even do that!

  9. I think anyone who’s lived near chimps and monkeys in the wild would know that it’s really not a good idea to go bothering those animals. I can’t help wondering why people would think it’s OK to annoy them – hardly anyone is stupid enough to go around annoying brown bears.

  10. I’m currently reading, “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors- a Search For Who We Are” by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan; the sections on chimp and other primate behaviors are fascinating, and somewhat appalling – they’re a little TOO much like us!

    1. The robotics researchers know about something called “the uncanny valley”, where something almost humanlike is creepier and harder to understand than something a bit further away. I guess this might apply to other primates sometimes.

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