NPR logo WATCH: Chimps In Uganda Look Both Ways Before Crossing

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WATCH: Chimps In Uganda Look Both Ways Before Crossing

New Scientist YouTube

Call it Darwinian evolution in action: A troop of wild chimpanzees in Uganda has learned a valuable survival skill — to look before crossing.

In a video published by New Scientist, one chimp can be seen pausing at the edge of the road and then backtracking to retrieve a smaller companion. What appears to be the alpha male waits on the far side of the road as the smallest in the group looks several times to each side before cautiously committing to a hasty crossing.

New Scientist says:

"In a 29-month survey, researchers observed and recorded 20 instances of wild chimps crossing a busy road in Sebitoli, in the northern part of Uganda's Kibale National Park. They watched 122 chimps cross the highway used by 90 vehicles an hour, many speeding at 70 to 100 kilometres an hour.

"It's the first report on how chimpanzees behave crossing a very busy asphalt road, says Marie Cibot of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. 'We've described chimpanzee behaviour facing a dangerous situation never described before,' she says, pointing out that earlier studies looked at narrower, unpaved and less busy roads."

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