Scientists in Germany have captured video of wild chimpanzees using rudimentary methods to get to their delicacy of fresh tortoise meat.
Chimpanzees are known to feed on the meat of several animal species, but the consumption of reptiles had not been formally observed until now, according to researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.
Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team observed chimpanzees in Gabon's Loango National Park repeatedly hitting the tortoise against tree trunks until they cracked the shells.
They observed younger animals or females were sometimes unable to crack open the tortoise on their own, handing them over to a stronger male who cracked it open and shared the meat with all other individuals.
In one case, an adult male chimpanzee cracked open a tortoise shell, ate half the contents and then stored the rest in a nook of a tree.
He then returned the next morning to finish eating what was left.
Scientists say the chimp's ability to plan for a future need, such as hunger, has, so far, only been observed in experimental or captive settings.
For scholars who still believe that future-oriented cognition is a uniquely human trait, German researchers now suggest the chimpanzees' intelligence and flexibility is still well beyond our full understanding.