Monkeys create stone tools forcing scientists to rethink human evolution
The path of human evolution may need to be rewritten after archaeologists discovered that monkeys also produce ‘tool-like flakes’ that were thought to be uniquely man-made.In a discovery that calls into question decades of research, a band of wild bearded capuchin monkeys in Brazil were seen hammering rocks to extract minerals, causing large flakes to fly off.
Previously archaeologists believed the flakes were only made by humans through a process called ‘stone-knapping’ where a larger rock is hammered with another stone to produce sharp blade-like slivers which can be used for arrows, spears or knives.
The flakes were thought to represent a turning point in human evolution because they demonstrated a level of planning, cognition and hand manipulation that could not be achieved by other animals.
But the new research suggests that flakes can be made without any such foresight. In fact they can simply be made by accident.