Oldest Non-Human Stone Tools Outside Africa Created by Monkeys
Archaeologists excavate cashew-crunching tool sets that have been used by capuchin monkeys in Brazil for a hundred generations.
An archaeological site in the Brazilian savanna has revealed the oldest record of non-human stone tool use found outside of Africa: centuries-old stone hammers and anvils wielded by hungry capuchin monkeys.
The rocks show that for at least 700 years, bearded capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus ) in Brazil’s Serra da Capivara National Park have smashed fresh cashews to peel off their caustic, unappetizing husks. The find confirms the behavior’s longtime importance to the area’s capuchins—which seem to have used the technique for a hundred generations—and adds vital nuance to the history of tool use in non-human primates.
“Archaeology has helped change our perspective on what humans are, by showing us the variety in our past, and hopefully the same may apply to non-human