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08-22-2015 9:27 AM
Scientists on 3 continents now have evidence: Some chimps have entered the Stone Age.
According to a fascinating report from Collin Barras of the BBC, archeologists in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia, have been digging up crude stone tools that date back thousands of years — tools that were fashioned by non-human primates.
Which means something kind of extraordinary (emphasis mine):
"The tools are crude. A chimpanzee or monkey stone hammer is hardly a work of art to rival the beauty of an ancient human hand axe. But that's not the point. These primates have developed a culture that makes routine use of a stone-based technology. That means they have entered the Stone Age."
That's right: We now how pretty solid evidence to suggest that at least some chimps are now firmly in the Stone Age.
It has been known for some time that chimpanzees fashion tools from wood, including spears with the ends ground to a point on stones. That some would also fashion tools from stones should not be a big surprise.
Monkeys’ cosy alliance with wolves looks like domestication
In the alpine grasslands of eastern Africa, Ethiopian wolves and gelada monkeys are giving peace a chance. The geladas – a type of baboon – tolerate wolves wandering right through the middle of their herds, while the wolves ignore potential meals of baby geladas in favour of rodents, which they can catch more easily when the monkeys are present.
The unusual pact echoes the way dogs began to be domesticated by humans (see box, below), and was spotted by primatologist Vivek Venkataraman, at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, during fieldwork at Guassa plateau in the highlands of north-central Ethiopia.
Even though the wolves occasionally prey on young sheep and goats, which are as big as young geladas, they do not normally attack the monkeys – and the geladas seem to know that, because they do not run away from the wolves.
This suggested that they were deliberately associating with the geladas. Since the wolves usually entered gelada groups during the middle of the day, when rodents are most active, he wondered whether the geladas made it easier for the wolves to catch the rodents – their primary prey.
Venkataraman and his colleagues followed individual wolves for 17 days, recording each attempted capture of a rodent, and whether it worked. The wolves succeeded in 67 per cent of attempts when within a gelada herd, but only 25 per cent of the time when on their own.
The wolves may benefit from associating with other species as well. For example, Sillero has noted that they also tend to forage in the vicinity of herds of cattle, which may help them catch rodents. Other predators might also be doing this without anyone noticing, says Colin Chapman, a primatologist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. “I don’t think we’ve looked at it very much, because the predators are usually scared off by people. I think it could be pretty common,” he says.
So this could be similar to cowbirds and cattle egrets following cattle herds, and I would not be surprised in the least that other species find such behavior beneficial to survival.
For the wolf to dog conversion this would include mutual tolerance for mutual benefit, lower adrenaline, and then you start seeing the domestication changes shown by the silver foxes ...