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Scientists Find Evidence Of Chimps Hunting With Weapons

by @ 10:55 am on February 23, 2007. Filed under Evolution vs. ID, Science

The Washington Post today has a fascinating story about chimps who have apparently developed the ability to fashion crude weapons they use for hunting:

Chimpanzees living in the West African savannah have been observed fashioning deadly spears from sticks and using the tools to hunt small mammals — the first routine production of deadly weapons ever observed in animals other than humans.

The multistep spearmaking practice, documented by researchers in Senegal who spent years gaining the chimpanzees’ trust, adds credence to the idea that human forebears fashioned similar tools millions of years ago.

The landmark observation also supports the long-debated proposition that females — the main makers and users of spears among the Senegalese chimps — tend to be the innovators and creative problem solvers in primate culture.

Using their hands and teeth, the chimpanzees were repeatedly seen tearing the side branches off long, straight sticks, peeling back the bark and sharpening one end. Then, grasping the weapons in a “power grip,” they jabbed them into tree-branch hollows where bush babies — small, monkeylike mammals — sleep during the day.

In one case, after repeated stabs, a chimpanzee removed the injured or dead animal and ate it, the researchers reported in yesterday’s online issue of the journal Current Biology.

One wonders if human weapon making ability started in this way as well.

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3 Responses to “Scientists Find Evidence Of Chimps Hunting With Weapons”

  1. KipEsquire says:

    It’s amazing how backwards the old “Planet of the Apes” movies got it. We increasingly know now that gorillas are the pacifist primates while chimps are aggressive, hostile and even warlike.

    “It wasn’t our war, it was the gorillas’ war!”
    –Escape from the Planet of the Apes

  2. Bubba says:

    What is amazing is that you would rely on a movie like the Planet of the Apes to inform your opinions as to whether we get it right or not.

    And who is this “we”? “We” do not “know” how much interaction these scienctist had with this group of chimps. The article states they “spent years” gaining the chimps trust. Hmmm, I wonder if in all those “years” any of the scientists ever picked up a straight stick and used it to poke something or defend against a snake or other animal. Also, “we” do know that chimps are fairly intelligent animals and have been “taught” many things including sign language. Since chimps live on a continent where people have use spears for thousands of years how big of a discovery is it that the chimps have “learned” this behavior. This is not amazing at all and is netiher here not there as a profound scientific discovery.

  3. So, You Think Evolution Isn’t Possible, Huh?

    For First Time, Chimps Seen Making Weapons for Hunting – washingtonpost.com h/t: Below the Beltway Chimpanzees living in the West African savannah have been observed fashioning deadly spears from sticks and using the tools to hunt small mammals — the…

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