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Wild monkeys flake stone tools

Proffitt, T; Luncz, LV; Falótico, T; Ottoni, EB; De la Torre, I; Haslam, M; (2016) Wild monkeys flake stone tools. Nature , 539 (7627) pp. 85-88. 10.1038/nature20112. Green open access

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Abstract

Our understanding of the emergence of technology shapes how we view the origins of humanity. Sharp-edged stone flakes, struck from larger cores, are the primary evidence for the earliest stone technology. Here we show that wild bearded capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) in Brazil deliberately break stones, unintentionally producing recurrent, conchoidally fractured, sharp-edged flakes and cores that have the characteristics and morphology of intentionally produced hominin tools. The production of archaeologically visible cores and flakes is therefore no longer unique to the human lineage, providing a comparative perspective on the emergence of lithic technology. This discovery adds an additional dimension to interpretations of the human Palaeolithic record, the possible function of early stone tools, and the cognitive requirements for the emergence of stone flaking.

Type: Article
Title: Wild monkeys flake stone tools
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/nature20112
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature20112
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Archaeology, Animal behaviour
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1524849
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