Chimpanzess and Monkees Have Entered the Stone Age

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Post by Guest on Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:22 am

In the rainforests of west Africa, the woodlands of Brazil and the beaches of Thailand, archaeologists have unearthed some truly remarkable stone tools. It's not the workmanship that makes them special. If anything, a casual observer might struggle to even identify them as ancient tools. It's not their antiquity that's exceptional either: they're only about the same age as the Egyptian pyramids. What makes these tools noteworthy is that the hands that held them weren't human. These stone tools were wielded by chimpanzees, capuchins and macaques. The sites where they have been unearthed are the basis of a brand new field of science: primate archaeology.

The tools are crude. A chimpanzee or monkey stone hammer is hardly a work of art to rival the beauty of an ancient human hand axe. But that's not the point. These primates have developed a culture that makes routine use of a stone-based technology. That means they have entered the Stone Age.

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150818-chimps-living-in-the-stone-age

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Post by The Devil, You Know on Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:12 pm

Cuchulain wrote:In the rainforests of west Africa, the woodlands of Brazil and the beaches of Thailand, archaeologists have unearthed some truly remarkable stone tools. It's not the workmanship that makes them special. If anything, a casual observer might struggle to even identify them as ancient tools. It's not their antiquity that's exceptional either: they're only about the same age as the Egyptian pyramids. What makes these tools noteworthy is that the hands that held them weren't human. These stone tools were wielded by chimpanzees, capuchins and macaques. The sites where they have been unearthed are the basis of a brand new field of science: primate archaeology.

The tools are crude. A chimpanzee or monkey stone hammer is hardly a work of art to rival the beauty of an ancient human hand axe. But that's not the point. These primates have developed a culture that makes routine use of a stone-based technology. That means they have entered the Stone Age.

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150818-chimps-living-in-the-stone-age
the gorilla that uses sign language, the name escapes me, is also thought to be developing a rudimentary speech, although speech might be a bit of a stretch, but it can control its breaths and grunts.


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Post by Ben Reilly on Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:28 pm

That would be the amazing animal Koko, who first learned sign language and is now verified as gaining mastery over her breathing and vocal tract.

It pisses me off when people say she only "learns" because she's rewarded. Why does anyone learn?

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Post by Original Quill on Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:59 pm

Koko lives just south of here, in Woodside CA, right by Stanford University.  Francine Patterson got her PhD as Koko's trainer.  She adopted a kitten, and now lives with a male gorilla, Ndume.

Language skills are essentially cognitive skills, and it requires an innate understanding of metaphor to fully communicate.  For example, who could understand phrases like, you owe me or pay the piper if you didn't first understand currency and financial transactions?

Also, Koko lacks proper inhibitions.  She shows a fondness for looking at female breasts, and has actually been sued for sexual harassment.  I like female breasts too, but so far I've avoided difficulty...and that's the difference.

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