Smart Primate! Capuchin Monkeys in Brazil Have Used Stone Tools for 700 Years, Scientists Discover
Early humans using stone tools is a mark of human innovation. However, it seems that we are not the only species who know how to create and use them.
Archaeologists have recently unearthed 700-year-old stone tools in Brazil. They said these were used by pre-Columbian monkeys during the Stone Age.
According to the study published in the journal Current Biology, the Brazilian bearded capuchin monkey (Sapajus libidinosus) used stones as hammers and anvils to pound and open their food, such as cashew nuts.
Researchers from the University of Oxford have excavated a 70-centimeter deep site and discovered 69 stones that have signs of damage, which are probably from pounding cashew nuts.
The monkeys' stone hammers were made of quartzite stones while their anvils were made of sandstones.
The study said considering these tools have been made 700 years ago, humans creating similar tools may have been influenced by their observation of the said monkeys.
“We have new evidence that suggests monkeys and other primates out of Africa were also using tools for hundreds, possibly thousands of years," said Dr. Michael Haslam, lead author of the study.
However, Haslam notes that the capuchin monkeys are not keen on changing tradition as they have been using the same tools over the years.
“They [the capuchins] tend to use the same types of materials in the same ways, unlike humans who have in the last 2,500 years have gone from obviously the Iron Age to where we are now," said Haslam via The Independent.
Lydia V. Luncz, one of the study's author, told The Washington Post that the discovery is just the beginning. They are expecting to discover more tools that go beyond 700 years.
Previous studies have also shown that the wild macaques of Thailand have also used shellfish and stone tools to break open nuts. However, what makes this study different is that it's the first documented discovery outside Africa and Asia.