The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Stone Age Chimps? Uh oh!

A recent article seen on Facebook courtesy of the British press harkens back to a 2007 article I found in Phys.org stating that chimps have been using stone tools since prehistoric times. It's been a long time since I had my course on Biocultural Evolutionary Theory, but I wonder how one tells the difference between the early stone tools of our ancestors after the division between humans and primates and from possibly competing chimp tool users?

Still, that is not my chief concern. It seems chimps have been cracking nuts with stones since before we humans had agriculture. These tools go back to roughly 4300 years ago, corresponding to our late Stone Age. The sentence I found most extraordinary in the "Chimps use tools as early as the Stone Age: a study" in Phys.org was "Julio Mercader, Christophe Boesch and colleagues found the stones at the Noulo site in Cote d'Ivoire, the only known prehistoric chimpanzee settlement." I have never seen that phrase before.

From the British press article relayed on Facebook, there was a very disturbing sentiment expressed at the end of the article. It was suggested that with this ongoing tool using behavior, our chimp relations are far more human than we have thought and we should treat them more like us.

My response: Run chimps, run! People want to treat you like humans!!!

As a damaged robot told Detective Del Spooner in iRobot ... "Run!!!"

The chimp response should be that of Caesar in the remake of Planet of the Apes: "No! Nooooo!!!"

Gather your tools and take to the hills, before we get you chimps mired in the upcoming presidential election mania. You deserve better than that!*

*Yes, I'm fully aware chimpanzees have been mistreated in animal experimentation and for our entertainment and this must stop. But, my knee jerk reaction was humor ... and intrigue. We'll get serious another time. And, if we humans don't get our act together, our tool making relatives just might inherit the planet after all.  

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