Chimps can crack open different kinds of nuts with stones and pieces of wood, which they use as a hammer and an anvil
The unique culture of West African nut-cracking chimpanzees has been selected for conservation by the UN, marking the first time an animal activity has been preserved by the international body.
Chimps can crack open different kinds of nuts with stones and pieces of wood, which they use as a hammer and an anvil.
The UN organization's Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) said, "After decades of extensive research into the advanced learning patterns of chimpanzees, the activity was chosen for conservation as it highlights chimps' "unique technological culture."
The CMS said it will now seek more data on chimps' nut-cracking tendencies, and will encourage media coverage and celebration of the animals' unique talent, CNN reported.
"Discoveries about animal culture can be fascinating to the public at large, shaping their perceptions of the nature of the animals concerned and hence their value," the CMS wrote after the measure was accepted.
However, research cited by the agency included the work of Jane Goodall, who has spent decades studying the social interactions of wild chimpanzees.
The move to conserve the culture follows evidence that chimps acquire some of their skills and activities through social learning with their peers, alongside animals' like- whales, dolphins and elephants.
The chimps' activity was one of two submitted for consideration ahead of the conference, alongside the culture of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Sperm Whale.
The whales "differ little from each other in their nuclear DNA, but their vocalizations vary considerably, and these can only be acquired through social interaction and learning," the agency said.
These unique nut-cracking talents are only visible in the westernmost parts of the species' range - chimpanzees in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Ivory Coast have the ability - but those in other parts of Africa do not.