Wild monkeys flake stone tools

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Proffitt, Tomos; Luncz, Lydia V.; Falótico, Tiago; Ottoni, Eduardo B.; de la Torre, Ignacio; Haslam, Michael
Year of Publication: 2016
Journal: Nature
Volume: advance online publication
Pagination: -
Date Published: 2016/10/19
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 1476-4687

Our understanding of the emergence of technology shapes how we view the origins of humanity1, 2. Sharp-edged stone flakes, struck from larger cores, are the primary evidence for the earliest stone technology3. Here we show that wild bearded capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) in Brazil deliberately break stones, unintentionally producing recurrent, conchoidally fractured, sharp-edged flakes and cores that have the characteristics and morphology of intentionally produced hominin tools. The production of archaeologically visible cores and flakes is therefore no longer unique to the human lineage, providing a comparative perspective on the emergence of lithic technology. This discovery adds an additional dimension to interpretations of the human Palaeolithic record, the possible function of early stone tools, and the cognitive requirements for the emergence of stone flaking.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature20112
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