Friday, February 23, 2007

Planets of the Apes coming closer?

Via one of the commenters at Pharyngula (sorry, lost the link, so can't say who it was), who pointed to a post at Liberal Values, I see that Chimpanzees are showing one of the classic examples of intelligence. Sophisticated tool using. Well, weapon using actually.

At Yahoo: Hunting chimps may change view of human evolution

Chimpanzees have been seen using spears to hunt bush babies, U.S. researchers said on Thursday in a study that demonstrates a whole new level of tool use and planning by our closest living relatives.

Perhaps even more intriguing, it was only the females who fashioned and used the wooden spears, Jill Pruetz and Paco Bertolani of Iowa State University reported.


This might lead to some re-evaluation of some longheld beliefs.
As Jill Pruetz explains:

The observation that individuals hunting with tools include females and immature chimpanzees suggests that we should rethink traditional explanations for the evolution of such behavior in our own lineage," she concluded in her paper.


That's quite interesting.
Note that she is speaking of the evolution of the gender roles, and not the biological process leading to Homo Sapiens, as the headline of the article might lead you to think.

Washington Post has more.

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