Monkeys – not humans – made ancient stone tool sets in Brazil, study finds: ScienceAlert

Monkeys – not humans – made ancient stone tool sets in Brazil, study finds: ScienceAlert

Monkeys – not humans – made ancient stone tool sets in Brazil, study finds: ScienceAlert

Researchers believe ancient stone tools discovered in Brazil are the work of Capuchin monkeys, not early humans, art and design website Artnet reported, citing an academic paper.

“We are convinced that the first archaeological sites in Brazil may not be of human origin, but may belong to capuchin monkeys,” archaeologist Agustín M. Agnolín and paleontologist Federico L. Agnolín wrote in an article. published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal. The Holocene in November.

The article says archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be ancient stone tools, made from locally sourced quartz and quartzite pebbles during earlier excavations at Pedra Furada – a collection of over 800 archaeological sites in Piauí, in the northeast of Brazil.

The oldest of the stone tools discovered appears to be up to 50,000 years old, according to the paper, leading some scholars to speculate that it provides evidence of early human habitation in the area.

However, unexpected findings in 2016 challenged this theory.

The results showed that capuchin monkeys from northeast Brazil are able to make and use a wide variety of stone tools.

This raised the possibility, as was first suggested in 2017, that apes – not humans – could be responsible for producing Pedra Furada’s findings.

And according to Agnolín and Agnolín, the researchers behind The Holocene article, there is now a compelling amount of evidence to suggest that the tools were not man-made.

“Our review of the evidence suggests that the ancient sites in Brazil do not actually belong to the first Americans, but are in fact the product of ape activity,” Federico L. Agnolín told the Argentine National Council for Scientific Research and technical (CONICET).

The researchers compared the tools found at Pedra Furada to those that capuchin monkeys make today.

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“The result was surprising: there was no difference between the supposed human tools of 50,000 years ago and those produced by apes today,” Agustín M. Agnolín told CONICET.

The researchers looked at previous research and observations of capuchin monkey populations that show the primates use small stones as hammers and large, flatter rocks as anvils to crack nuts and pods.

“The result is that the rocks used often shatter, generating rock fragments very similar to those produced by humans when carving stone tools,” said Agustín M. Agnolín, according to the CONICET press release. .

In addition to this, the researchers stated in The Holocene article that there was no evidence to suggest a trace of human presence, noting the absence of hearths or traces of food remains.

“Our study shows that tools from Pedra Furada and other nearby sites in Brazil were nothing more than the product of capuchin monkeys cracking nuts and rocks some 50,000 years before present,” said Federico L. Agnolin at CONICET.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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