RE: Report: chimps used simple tools 5 million years ago

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue May 28 2002 - 10:52:19 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Report: chimps used simple tools 5 million years ago
    Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 10:52:19 +0100
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            <Did they have to actually modify the stones for these objects to
    qualify as
    > tools? Can't the chimps be given credit for at least using some sort of
    > implement/tool as a means to an end, not unlike we humans? If this find
    > stands up to scrutiny, I'm sure there will be those who will still
    > struggle
    > to keep humans within the charmed circle. The thought of chimps from way
    > back when doing humanesque things might be unnerving to someone of the
    > special creation mindset, not to mention their phylogenetic proximity to
    > us.
    > It's better to ignore such information, lest dissonance rear its ugly head
    > ;-)>
            It's not the thought of chimp tool use that bothers me, I have no
    problem with that, indeed think it's both fascinating and adds to the
    arguments for evolution (indeed, arguably for cultural evolution). Nor do I
    think tools need to be modified objects. Indeed, it would be a very
    interesting thing to find our relatives tool using a long time ago.

            All that bothers me is how do you tell an unmodified stone tool on
    the ground from millions of years ago from just another stone on the ground?
    I'm sure there are clear disciplinary ways of inferring this, I just don't
    see how one can claim this with any high level of accuracy. From the
    description in the piece posted to the list it sounds like they inferred
    this from the proximity of a number of stones shaped a certain way, near a
    tree stump.

            Let me put it another way, if a number of flattened stones were
    found near a dinosaur skeleton, would one assume that the dinosaur used
    tools, or that environmental forces, or coincidence over millions of years
    resulted in the stones being nearby?

            I'm probably disparaging months of analysis and considered reasoning
    by experts in a totally obtuse and unfair manner, it just strikes me as a
    bit of conjecture very difficult to demonstrate with any veracity.


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