Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Chimps are Coming!

In a report from the BBC:
Chimpanzees in Senegal have been observed making and using wooden spears to hunt other primates, according to a study in the journal Current Biology.

Researchers documented 22 cases of chimps fashioning tools to jab at smaller primates sheltering in cavities of hollow branches or tree trunks.

The report's authors, Jill Pruetz and Paco Bertolani, said the finding could have implications for human evolution.

Chimps had not been previously observed hunting other animals with tools.

Pruetz and Bertolani made the discovery at their research site in Fongoli, Senegal, between March 2005 and July 2006.

[…] Chimpanzees were observed jabbing the spears into hollow trunks or branches, over and over again. After the chimp removed the tool, it would frequently smell or lick it.

[…] In one case, Pruetz and Bertolani witnessed a chimpanzee extract a bushbaby with a spear.

This cannot be a good thing. I guess we are okay as long as they do not discover gunpowder.