Noémie Lamon

Research interest

Leaf technology in wild chimpanzees, Budongo forest, Uganda

There is a vast array of literature on the topic of tool use by apes and particularly chimpanzees. It has been shown that chimpanzees use tools in order to gain access to food, to communicate, for hygiene and protection purposes. Unlike other chimpanzee communities in Africa, the Budongo chimpanzees have never been seen using sticks as tools, but instead have developed an extensive leaf technology. Leaves are used, for example, to produce sponges and remove parasites, for medicinal purposes, signaling, and personal hygiene.

My project proposes to study, in detail, the leaf technology displayed by two neighbouring groups of wild chimpanzees, the Sonso and the Waibira groups, in Budongo forest, Uganda. My aims will be to describe the ontogeny and examine the social transmission of these leaf-related behaviours and test the pharmacological properties of the plants used as medicines. As the Sonso and Waibira groups inhabit neighbouring territories within the same continuous forest block, I will also be able to investigate possible cultural diversity between these two groups for these leaf-related behaviours.
Chimpanzee eating