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

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue May 28 2002 - 11:02:50 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 11:02:50 +0100
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            <Hey Vincent,

    > I won't get a chance to look at the actual Science article till this
    > weekend (I'm an attorney living in rural upstate New York. Perhaps you
    > quicker access?) Bout six months I mentioned some articles that discuss
    > chimpanzee nut cracking as it has been presently observed. Based upon
    > what
    > they described I'm guessing that the stones were chipped in a pattern
    > consistent with modern nut cracking, that they were too heavy for humans
    > to
    > have used effectively in that fashion, and that some actual chimp
    > skeletons
    > were found nearby to date the whole thing.>
            Yeah, I guess you're right, this does sound like strong evidence if
    this is the case.

            <When I brought it up previously I think Wade asked whether perhaps
    > chimps had picked it up from humans. It couldn't have been ruled out, but
    > the difference in tool size suggested that the chimps at least had the
    > intelligence to modify something they observed humans doing. Based on
    > what
    > CNN is reporting was in the 'Science' article chimpanzees would have had
    > to
    > have picked it from 'ardipithecus ramidus' (no I'm not that good. I had to
    > look it up.) Perhaps primitive tool use started with the common ancestor
    > of chimpanzees and humans.>
            This is an interesting question, and again one difficult to find out
    from the fossil/archseological record. If it was possible though, putting
    cultural transmission back several million years really adds to the cultural
    evolution argument (a bit like the geological age of the earth gave natural
    selection plenty of time to work).


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