Chimps Used Stone “Hammers”
Posted on February 14, 2007 Comments (4)
Using so-called “percussive technology” to free the edible parts of nuts is more complicated than it sounds. “We know that modern chimpanzee behaviour regarding nut-cracking is socially transmitted and takes up to seven years to learn,” Mercader says. “Some of the nuts require a compression force of more than a thousand kilograms to crack. And the idea is to crack the shell but not smash it – it’s not a simple technique.”
The discovery suggests that a ‘chimpanzee stone age’ reaches well back to ancient times. “Chimpanzee material culture has a long prehistory whose deep roots are only beginning to be uncovered,” the authors write.