Capuchin monkeys have broken open the nuts with stone tools for 3000 years

Capuchin monkeys have been cracking with stone tools for three hundred years – with 450 generations of primates refining the techniques

  • Researchers have excavated the first archaeological archaeological site of the capuchin monkey in Brazil
  • With carbon dating of charcoal fragments, excavated stone tools could be given for centuries
  • Small rocks were used until 2500 years ago, when larger stones tools appear
  • The monkeys, however, switched back to smaller tools about 300 years ago
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Capuchin monkeys have used stone tools to break open cashew nuts for around 3000 years – or 450 generations – reveal a grave in Brazil.

Archaeologists discovered that the monkeys changed the size of the tools they used over time from smaller stones to larger ones and back again.

The changes in tool size may be because different groups of monkey use different tools – or because the larger stones were used on different types of food.

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Capuchin monkeys have used stone tools to break open cashew nuts for around 3000 years - or 450 generations - reveal a grave in Brazil

Capuchin monkeys have used stone tools to break open cashew nuts for around 3000 years – or 450 generations – reveal a grave in Brazil

University College London archaeologist Tomos Proffitt and his colleagues have dug up a site in the Serra da Capivara National Park in Brazil, where capuchin monkeys still use bricks to break open cashew nuts.

Researchers studied the stone tools they found and used carbon dating from fragments of charcoal found with each tool to determine their respective age.

They discovered that capuchin monkeys have broken monkeys with rocks in this place for around 3000 years – which is around 450 generations.

Capuchin monkeys have also changed their utility-crunching tactics over time, the researchers report.

When the monkeys started using stone tools on the site, they used small and light stones to help with their food.

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However, the researchers discovered that between 2,500 and 3,000 years ago the primates had switched to the use of larger and heavier stone tools.

After this period, however, the Capuchin monkeys returned to the use of smaller tools – a trend that has continued to this day.

Archaeologists discovered that the monkeys changed the size of the tools they used over time from smaller rocks to larger ones and back again

Archaeologists discovered that the monkeys changed the size of the tools they used over time from smaller rocks to larger ones and back again

Archaeologists discovered that the monkeys changed the size of the tools they used over time from smaller rocks to larger ones and back again

Dr. Proffitt and colleagues & # 39; s have put forward a number of theories that could explain the changes in the use of the tool.

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First, different groups of monkeys could use stones of different sizes.

Alternatively, cashew nuts may be less readily available at certain times, forcing the animals to use larger tools to process different types of food.

With the presentation of this study, capuchin monkeys are now humans and chimpanzees as the only animals with a known archaeological record.

However, they are not the only animals that use tools – with otters known to use stones to break open crabs, sea urchins, and bivalves.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

University College London archaeologist Tomos Proffitt and his colleagues have dug up a site in the Serra da Capivara National Park in Brazil, where monkeys still use bricks to break open cashew nuts today
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University College London archaeologist Tomos Proffitt and his colleagues have dug up a site in the Serra da Capivara National Park in Brazil, where monkeys still use bricks to break open cashew nuts today

University College London archaeologist Tomos Proffitt and his colleagues have dug up a site in the Serra da Capivara National Park in Brazil, where monkeys still use bricks to break open cashew nuts today

WHAT ARE CAPUCHIN MONKEYS?

Capuchin monkeys are New World monkeys that evolved about 6.2 million years ago.

They live in Central and South America, where they sleep in tree branches at night and spend their days searching for food.

They usually live in groups of around 10-35 people.

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An adult capuchin monkey can be between 12-22 inches (30-56 cm) long, with tails that are normally as long as the body.

New research has shown that they have used stone tools to break open nuts for at least about 3,000 years.

Some capuchin monkeys have also been observed using stone tools to break open crabs and shellfish.

As a result of their use of the tools, capuchin monkeys, along with humans and chimpanzees, are the only animals with a known archaeological record.

They derive their name from the order of minor brothers, Capuchins, monks whose appearance – with their brown robes but light-colored heads – is loosely similar.

The most intelligent monkeys of the New World, Capuchins are easy to train. They have a history of being appreciated as exotic pets and for entertainment because they were used to accompany organ grinders and as greyhound jockeys.

However, the most famous capuchin monkey may be the white monkey from Marcel – Ross on the TV sitcom & # 39; Friends & # 39 ;.

An organ grinder with his capuchin monkey in 1892

An organ grinder with his capuchin monkey in 1892

An organ grinder with his capuchin monkey in 1892

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