Monday, February 29, 2016

Chimpanzee Accumulative Stone Throwing - our 1st PanAf paper!

Our very first PanAfrican Programme: the cultured chimpanzee paper is out today in Scientific Reports!

We have already had some stone throwing videos up on Chimp&See, you can check them out at the #stonethrow tag group! Below is one of our favourites of Dodge demonstrating hurling a rock at an accumulative stone throwing site:

original video can be found at

You can check out the press release here! (German version here

Abstract of the paper:

The study of the archaeological remains of fossil hominins must rely on reconstructions to elucidate the behaviour that may have resulted in particular stone tools and their accumulation. Comparatively, stone tool use among living primates has illuminated behaviours that are also amenable to archaeological examination, permitting direct observations of the behaviour leading to artefacts and their assemblages to be incorporated. Here, we describe newly discovered stone tool-use behaviour and stone accumulation sites in wild chimpanzees reminiscent of human cairns. In addition to data from 17 mid- to long-term chimpanzee research sites, we sampled a further 34 Pan troglodytes communities. We found four populations in West Africa where chimpanzees habitually bang and throw rocks against trees, or toss them into tree cavities, resulting in conspicuous stone accumulations at these sites. This represents the first record of repeated observations of individual chimpanzees exhibiting stone tool use for a purpose other than extractive foraging at what appear to be targeted trees. The ritualized behavioural display and collection of artefacts at particular locations observed in chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing may have implications for the inferences that can be drawn from archaeological stone assemblages and the origins of ritual sites.

The PanAf is made up of a network of amazing collaborators who made this paper possible, please check them out at:

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