Tuesday, February 13, 2007

This Makes Me Happy

One of the problems of the classic British secondary education is that by the time you figure out what you are interested in doing you could well be far down the path of preparation for a completely different career. So at the age of 17 as I swotted up on Bismarck (the man, not the pastry) I could do little but regret biology classes not taken as the urge to become a primatologist washed over me with drenching bathos. Of course, I could have recalibrated my life but I was young, confused, in a hurry to be getting on with my life and massively lazy. So I stuck to history, classics, and French and as a consequence I can barely make myself understood on forays into Quebec, own a copy of Herodotus, and do quite well at pub quizzes. Ho hum. But enough about my squandered dreams, back to the primates:

Ancient chimps 'used stone tools'
Chimpanzees in West Africa used stone tools to crack nuts 4,300 years ago.
The discovery represents the oldest evidence of tool use by our closest evolutionary relative.

The skill could have been inherited from a common ancestor of chimps and humans, the authors say, or learnt from humans by imitation.

Alternatively, humans and chimps may have developed tool use independently, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal reports....(the rest of the story)

Chimps are frigging brilliant.

It is only a matter of time...
(image borrowed from Infinite Chimps)


Mike said...

To lighten your spirits, I would have you on my pub trivia team *and* my trip to Quebec.
Oh, and didn't you do something along the lines of a syllables-per-word/sentence calculator sometime back? Can we get a running tally?

weasel said...

Ah yes, the Verbosity Index.

RPS said...

Forget about 4,300 years ago. Chimps now are using spears to hunt vertebrates for the first time.

(Well, probably not yet in Rockland.)