When you go to bed at night, are you already thinking about what you’ll have for breakfast in the morning? If you are, that’s one more thing you have in common with chimps. Because a new study shows that chimps choose a camp site based on the next morning’s menu. The work is in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [Karline R.L. Janmaat et al, Wild chimpanzees plan their breakfast time, type, and location]
The jungle may seem like a place where you can always find a ripe piece of fruit. But the most calorically dense snacks are highly sought after—and quick to disappear. A fig tree, for example, can be stripped bare in a single visit by birds, squirrels or any number of fruit-loving species. So how does a chimp secure a seat at the highly desirable fig cafe?
To find out, researchers tracked five wild chimps at a national park in the Ivory Coast. And they found that the apes set up their sleeping nests along the path to breakfast, and set out before dawn. But they only took these steps when figs were likely on offer.
The findings suggest that chimps can really plan ahead when it comes to their morning meal. And that the early bird may settle for the the worm. Because a clever chimp already took all the figs.