A study has shown that stone tools found in Brazil, thought to be from the first humans to live in the Amazon, were actually made by Capuchin monkeys.
Tool use in animals has been widely researched and documented. For example, members of the great ape family (us included) have been known to use twigs and sticks to access harder to reach morsels. It’s said that our ancient ancestors only began growing bigger brains at a rapid rate when they could eat bone marrow.
Crows, elephants, and even octopuses (Octopi? Octopodes?) and sea otters have been observed using tools for varying reasons.
Tool use in animals raises questions about whether animals have culture or not. Scientists widely agree that, yes, indeed, animals have culture. It’s so widespread, in fact, that scientists concur that even fish and insects have it!
Now, back to the monkey tool story, scientists say that capuchin monkeys in different troops use tools differently. It goes down to the cultural heritage of the troop
While the scientists from this specific study made the tool use correlation through observations of modern monkey’s using similar instruments, the conclusion is that these tools were made accidentally.
But let that not detract from Capuchin culture among C. apella – where there is widespread tool use and technique variations within groups. So who said monkeys don’t have culture?
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