Scientists told which animals entered their “Stone Age”: who uses stone tools
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Humans are not the only species of living creatures on Earth that entered the Stone Age. There are also our “relatives” in this “club”.
Scientists now know that some species of insects and birds can use stones as tools for various purposes. But until recently, it was believed that only humans and some species of primates used stone tools in the distant past. At least there were no other archaeological data. But scientists now believe that other species of primates have also entered their Stone Age, writes Live Science.
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New research shows that chimpanzees, capuchin monkeys and long-tailed macaques entered their stone age. Archaeological evidence confirms that they used stone tools in the distant past.
According to Katharina Almeida-Warren of the University of Oxford, different groups of primates use different stone tools. As for the chimpanzees, some of them use a hammer stone and a stone stand to crack nuts.
Studies show that chimpanzees have used these tools for food for thousands of years. For example, scientists already know that these primates in Africa used them exactly 4,300 years ago. Scientists have also found that capuchin monkeys living in Brazil used stones to crack nuts 3,000 years ago. Similar archaeological finds confirm that long-tailed macaques living in Southeast Asia also used stone tools to get food. At the same time, scientists have found that the nature of the use of stone tools has changed over the millennia, depending on what kind of food the primates foraged.
So far, scientists do not know exactly how these primates came to use stone tools. If we talk about chimpanzees, then scientists suggest that these skills appeared in monkeys as a legacy from a common ancestor with humans. Other scientists believe that chimpanzees learned to use stone tools independently of humans, and this also applies to other animals that also use stones for food.
“How primates learned to use stones as tools is still not exactly clear. What can be said with certainty is that entering their own stone age did not mean for primates further evolutionary development along the path of man. This also does not mean that primates that use stone tools are necessarily smarter than animals that use tree branches or leaves as tools for various purposes,” says Thiago Falotico of the University of São Paulo, Brazil.
On the other hand, it is stone tools that are preserved even after many thousands of years that give archaeologists have a lot of new information about how they were used by primates. For example, last year Argentine scientists hypothesized that 50,000-year-old “human settlements” in Brazil were actually created by capuchin monkeys. Scientists have discovered stone tools here, which are still used by these primates.
“If this hypothesis is correct, then this means that capuchin monkeys used stone tools tens of thousands of years ago. Thus, this hypothesis supports the debate about about when the first people settled in South America,” says Falotiko.
As Focus already wrote, scientists have found a record amount of “poison” in freshwater fish. Consuming just one fish a year is equivalent to a month of drinking water with the addition of “eternal chemicals”.