Maybe it’s just me but I find chimpanzee mouths to be pretty captivating. Not only are they particularly expressive but they are also exceptionally useful. Chimpanzees have prehensile lips which Debbie described beautifully in this past blog post. That means that mouths are just as good, if not even better than, hands and fingers for tool use and object manipulation. In fact, it can be downright splendid to watch the chimpanzees use their lips with such precision and finesse whether it’s for exploration, grooming, play, or food related.
Here is Jamie using her mouth and teeth to help her get the trash can open:
I found Annie’s mouth to be spectacularly expressive in this picture. Here she is the midst of a morning forage, searching for more fruit:
Negra using her lips to carry as many orange peels as she can find:
Here is Missy grooming herself by inspecting her own lip:
Jody carrying off a bowl in her mouth while her hands are otherwise occupied with climbing:
Foxie enjoying snow from a forage a while back. Maybe this helps to prevent brain freeze?
And, here is Burrito, ever the charmer, with an invitation to play:
Great post, I am always amazed with all the things chimps can do with their lips. The photos of Missy and Foxie made me laugh. The shot of Annie is amazing, I can almost read her mind.