Chimpanzees living in the West African savannah have been observed fashioning deadly spears from sticks and using the hand-crafted tools to hunt small mammals -- the first routine production of deadly weapons ever observed in animals other than humans...This is really quite astonishing. Simple tool-use has long been documented among nonhuman species. But we're talking about quite complex tool-use here involving fashioning found objects into a more workable form.
Using their hands and teeth, the chimpanzees were repeatedly seen tearing the side branches off long straight sticks, peeling back the bark and sharpening one end, the researchers report in today's on-line issue of the journal Current Biology. Then, grasping the weapon in a "power grip," they jabbed into tree-branch hollows where bush babies -- small monkey-like mammals -- sleep during the day.
After stabbing their prey repeatedly, they removed the injured or dead animal and ate it.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
You knew it would come to this.