Evolution of hunting and meat-eating behavior in Hominoidea

Hiroshi IHOBE


Hunting and meat-eating behavior by the genus Pan are reviewed from the perspective of the prey species. These behaviors have been reported for wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) at 14 study sites, and include all three sub-species of the chimpanzee, in population from West to East Africa in environments from savanna to rain forest. The main targets of hunting and meat-eating by chimpanzees are non-human primates: of 12 study sites where prey species were identified, non-human primates other than chimpanzees were hunted or eaten by chimpanzees at 11 sites. Hunting and meat-eating by wild bonobos (Pan paniscus) have been reported at three study sites. The targets of hunting and meat-eating were restricted to small mammals such as flying squirrels or infant duikers. Interspecific relationships between the bonobos and sympatric non-human primates, which are the main targets of hunting and meat-eating by chimpanzees, were non-antagonistic. The common ancestor of Pan and humans may have acquired its meat-eating habit in a forested environment since gorillas and orangutans do not hunt. It seems that hunting and meat-eating played an important role in human evolution after the appearance of Homo.

Primate Research, 13: 203-213 (1997)

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