The patrol of chimpanzees leaves early in the afternoon, silently moving through the forest in single file. After several hours, the hunters hear a troop of monkeys jumping nervously about the canopy. The chimps stop, grab one another and grin in anticipation of the feast to come. Then all hell breaks loose. The chimps shout a rallying cry and climb purposefully into the trees. The monkeys scream in alarm and mob the hunters, but to no avail. A male chimp grabs a monkey, swings it around and takes a bite. Soon, the carcass is torn apart and shared for breakfast.
Chimpanzees generally subsist on fruits, but they will hunt on occasion. Since 1963, when Jane Goodall first reported on chimp hunting at Gombe Stream Reserve in Tanzania, studies across Africa have confirmed that it is a male group activity and that red colobus monkeys are the preferred prey. In the 1970s primatologist Geza Teleki suggested that hunting serves two purposes: to fulfill protein requirements and, because the meat is precious, to gain mates.
This article was originally published with the title Sigma Chi Chimpy.