Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hard to believe this is the first time we've seen this...

According to a story in the WaPo, chimpanzees have been found to be making sharp weapons, which they are using to hunt small animals. According to the story,

The multistep spearmaking practice, documented by researchers in Senegal who spent years gaining the chimpanzees' trust, adds credence to the idea that human forebears fashioned similar tools millions of years ago.
The landmark observation also supports the long-debated proposition that females -- the main makers and users of spears among the Senegalese chimps -- tend to be the innovators and creative problem solvers in primate culture.
Using their hands and teeth, the chimpanzees were repeatedly seen tearing the side branches off long, straight sticks, peeling back the bark and sharpening one end. Then, grasping the weapons in a "power grip," they jabbed them into tree-branch hollows where bush babies -- small, monkeylike mammals -- sleep during the day.

This has probably been going on for a long time and we just finally observed it. Neat.

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