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Chimpanzee stone tool site excavated

s in East Africa during a period called the "Oldowan". Moreover the number of stone pieces per m2, and the size of the stone clusters themselves mimic some assemblages from this period.

Thus we see that chimpanzees produced a visible record of their tool using activities. Archaeology has proven a reliable, efficient, and feasible method to uncover past chimpanzee activities in the rainforest. This type of archaeological application is useful in reconstructing past primate behavior both human and non-human. The results open a new territory for many disciplines, including primatology, archaeology, and paleoanthropology, and indicate the possibility that some of the technologically simplest Oldowan sites could be re-interpreted as nut-cracking sites and more generally that some subsets of artifacts from the more sophisticated Oldowan assemblages could be seen as material proof that early hominids were able to eat nuts contained in hard shells.

The archaeologists will continue the excavation of chimpanzee sites in the African forest and explore the implications of this work in East Africa. "The data highlight how much more we still need to learn about our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, to understand humanity's uniqueness. Every day chimpanzees are being killed in the wild and their forest habitat is being destroyed. All of us have a responsibility to care for other species," says Boesch.


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Contact: Prof. Christophe Boesch
boesch@eva.mpg.de
49-341-9952-201
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
23-May-2002


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