Archaeologists discover 700-year-old evidence of tool use by monkeys

It takes a brilliant creature to understand that nuts are edible more so, so early on.
By Alex Bourque | Aug 14, 2016
Man's ancestor was not the only species to use tools. Man close relative, the Capuchin monkey, was cracking nut using tools seven centuries ago. The monkey was nicknamed the organ grinder monkey, following evidence collected by archaeologists in Brazil.

These monkeys used stone tools to crack open nuts. These animals are unique as they understood that nuts needed to be hammered and cracked open to make them edible. Archaeologists have found a striking resemblance with these tools to the ones used by early man.

"It had long been suspected, but there was no proof to back the claims," said lead archaeologist, Tiago Falotico." But now we have collected overwhelming evidence. The results are groundbreaking. The tools used by the Capuchin monkeys would enter an archaeological record for the first time."

Capuchins monkeys were ingenious. It takes a brilliant creature to understand that nuts are edible more so, so early on. Today very few animals understand how to crack open nuts. The skill that came with getting the stone tools to do the job is to be applauded.

The tools they used were set up near a nut tree. The anvil was a hard rock or a tree. The hammer was a rock. Once the nuts fell, they would be placed on the anvil. By using a varying amount of force, they would crack the nut open. They would do it so well; nothing would be lost.

The scientists agreed that cracking nuts with simple tools is quite challenging and acknowledged that the monkeys were quite smart to achieve this.


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