Humanity is no longer the only species on Earth that has entered the Stone Age. It’s been known for some time now that various other primates use stone tools, including chimpanzees, capuchins, and macaques. Just recently, a study revealed that there was enough archaeological evidence to prove that macaques in Thailand have been crafting geological tools for at least half a century.
Now, it seems that capuchins have them beat. Tools in Brazil, undoubtedly made by capuchin hands, have been dated to be at least 700 years old. This means that just as the Renaissance was beginning in Italy, capuchins were crafting little chisels and hammers out of various stones in South America – although, in all likelihood, they had entered the Stone Age long before this.
As the study in the journal Current Biology notes, the field of primate archaeology is relatively nascent. Michael Haslam, the lead author of this research and the head of the Primate Archaeology (Primarch) project at the University of Oxford, is a pioneer in the field. He’s previously uncovered evidence of stone tool use in Thailand by macaques, but this new discovery is far more of a game-changer.
“Until now, the only archaeological record of pre-modern, non-human animal tool use comes from a study of three chimpanzee sites in Cote d'Ivoire in Africa, where tools were dated to between 4,300 and 1,300 years old,” Haslam said in a statement. “Here, we have new evidence that suggests monkeys and other primates out of Africa were also using tools for hundreds, possibly thousands of years.”