Stone fragments cast doubt on early human tools

The latter is believed even today to be cut stones Sharp edges which they find particularly in East Africa marked the beginning of the deliberate production of stone tools, which is one of the characteristics of the evolution of mankind.

In fact, these stones are the primary evidence for the emergence of technology in our line of evolution. This guide is used to understand the behavior, cognition, and subsistence strategies of early homininsexplain Tomos Profet and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Examples of stone chips created by macaques.

Image: Max Planck Institute/Tomos Profet

Monkeys do that too

However, long-tailed macaques in Ao Phang Nga National Park use stone tools to crack open the hard-shelled nuts. During this process, they often break hammers And theirs anvil, so that the broken stones spread in their habitat. They are very similar to the tools of our ancestors.

Many of these objects have the same characteristics commonly found in East Africa and have been identified as deliberate stone tools at some of the oldest sites in this region.noted in a press release by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

These researchers compared stone assemblages from the Plio-Pleistocene (3.3 to 1.56 million years ago) with flakes produced by macaques, finding that these fall within the technological range of ancestral artifacts.Homo sapiens.

In the absence of behavioral observations, the group produced by the monkeys would likely be identified as anthropogenic and interpreted as evidence of intentional tool production.say the researchers.

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Our study shows that the production of stone tools is not the prerogative of humans and their ancestors.explains in a press release the lead author, Tomos Profet, researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

The fact that macaques use stone tools to open nuts is not surprising, as they also use tools to access the contents of various shells.he adds.

Interestingly, in doing so, they accidentally produce artifacts unique to themselves that are partially indistinguishable from those of human lineage types. »

Quote from Tomos Profet, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Either way, anthropologists believe these accidental creatures of apes Offers new perspectives on the emergence of this technology among our ancient ancestors.

Moreover, the origin of the latter can be linked to similar nut cracking behavior in to turn down which could be much older than current anthropological documents suggest.

And so, in species to turn downThe cracking of nuts, similar to what some primates do today, may have been a precursor to the deliberate production of stone tools that arose later.

This discovery shows how living primates can help us study the origin and evolution of tool use in our own lineage. »

Quote from Lydia Lonks, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Details of this work are published in the journal science (A new window) (in English).

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