(ORDO NEWS) — Anthropologists at the Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology of the Max Planck Society (Germany) have found that tool making is not unique to humans and their ancestors.
An article describes the use of stone tools by crabeater macaques to crack hard-shelled nuts.
The discovery challenges the notion that deliberately crafted stone flakes and sharp-edged flakes are the primary evidence for the emergence of technology in the history of Homo sapiens and their ancestors.
Typically, such stone tools are used to study the behavior and strategies of ancient hominins.
The researchers compared random stone fragments produced by crabeater macaques (Macaca fascicularis) with fragments from some of the earliest archaeological artifacts dating from 3.3 million to 1.56 million years ago, and showed that many monkey tools fall within the range of shapes, characteristic of ancient tools.
These fragments are the result of accidental damage and cracking of stones used by macaques to crack nuts and cannot be considered as evidence of intentional manufacture.
Thus, the flakes created by the apes could probably be identified as evidence of the deliberate production of tools by ancient people.
Cracking nuts with stone hammers and anvils, similar to what some primates do today, could be seen as a pre-deliberate practice of stone tool making, scientists say.
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