We’ve know for quite a long while that chimpanzees use expedient tools – rocks to crack open things and twigs to pull termites out of mounds. But a new report on chimps in Senegal takes this to a whole new level.
Female chimps there have been observed making spears and using them to hunt bush babies. From the story:
“The chimps choose a branch, strip it of leaves and twigs, trim it down to a stable size and then chew the ends to a point. Then they use it to stab into holes where bush babies might be sleeping.”
Males never use the spears, only females and juvenile chimps.
“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 ……………………The multiple steps taken by Fongoli chimpanzees in making tools to dispatch mammalian prey involve the kind of foresight and intellectual complexity that most likely typified early human relatives.”
Fascinating stuff and I can’t wait to read what feminist writers will make of this.