Study Reveals Female Chimps Play Dollies With Sticks

Young female chimpanzees like to have fun with sticks as if they were dolls, according to a new study in the journal Current Biology.

Although both juvenile male and female chimpanzees were seen playing with sticks in Kibale National Park in Uganda, females were more liable to cradle the sticks and treat them like infants.

The researchers studied juvenile actions in a single chimpanzee colony over 14 years, and observed 15 females and 16 males.

Of the 15 females, 10 conceded around sticks, while five of the males were seen with sticks. In one case, an eight-year-old male with a stick stepped out of his mother’s nest, built a smaller nest and laid his stick in it.

Although adult chimpanzees are also recognized to use sticks, they use them as foraging tools, not toys. Juveniles were defined as chimpanzees between the ages of five and 7.9. This is roughly equal to the human age range of six to nine, Dr. Kahlenberg said.
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