A new study about monkeys came to an incredible conclusion that may force us to rethink ape evolution.
An astonishing discovery by scientists about monkeys may result in a complete remodeling of the path of ape and consequently human evolution. Archaeologists found that monkeys also produce “tool-like flakes” from stone that were thought to be only something mankind was capable of creating.
A band of wild bearded capuchin monkeys in Brazil were observed hammering rocks in a way to cause large flakes to chip off, allowing them to extract minerals. Scientists had previously though that a process known as “stone-knapping,” which is when a larger rock is hammered into another stone, was something only humans did, and that they marked a key point of human evolution as they demontrated a level of planning and manipulation beyond that of animals, according to a statement from the University of Oxford.
But this new research says that these stone flakes can be done quite by accident. And it may force scientists to rethink our evolutionary behavior and whether this really marks a turning point for humans at all.
Lead author Dr Tomos Proffitt, from the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford, comments: ‘Within the last decade, studies have shown that the use and intentional production of sharp-edged flakes are not necessarily linked to early humans (the genus Homo) who are our direct relatives, but instead were used and produced by a wider range of hominins. However, this study goes one step further in showing that modern primates can produce archaeologically identifiable flakes and cores with features that we thought were unique to hominins.
‘This does not mean that the earliest archaeological material in East Africa was not made by hominins. It does, however, raise interesting questions about the possible ways this stone tool technology developed before the earliest examples in the archaeological record appeared. It also tells us what this stone tool technology might look like. There are important questions too about the uniqueness of early hominin behaviour. These findings challenge previous ideas about the minimum level of cognitive and morphological complexity required to produce numerous conchoidal flakes.’