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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/22/AR2007022201007_pf.html

Chimps Observed Making Their Own Weapons

 

By Rick Weiss

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, February 22, 2007; 2:48 PM

 

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.

 

The multi-step spear-making practice, documented by researchers in Senegal who spent years gaining the chimpanzees' trust, adds credence to the idea that human forebears fashioned similar tools millions of years ago.

 

The landmark observation also supports the long-debated proposition that females -- the main makers and users of spears among the Senegalese chimps -- tend to be the innovators and creative problem solvers in primate culture.

 

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.

 

"It was really alarming how forceful it was," said lead researcher Jill D. Pruetz of Iowa State University in Ames, adding that it reminded her of the murderous shower scene in the Alfred Hitchcock movie "Psycho." "It was kind of scary."

 

The new observations are "stunning," said Craig Stanford, a primatologist and professor of anthropology at the University of Southern California. "Really fashioning a weapon to get food -- I'd say that's a first for any non-human animal."

 

Scientists have documented tool use among chimpanzees for several decades, but the tools have been simple and used to extract food rather than to kill it.

 

Some chimpanzees slide thin sticks or leaf blades into termite mounds, for example, to fish for the tasty, crawling morsels. Others crumple leaves and use them like sponges to sop drinking water from tree hollows.

 

But while a few chimpanzees have been observed throwing rocks -- perhaps with the goal of knocking prey unconscious, but perhaps simply as expressions of excitement -- and a few others have been known to swing simple clubs, only people have been known to craft tools expressly to hunt prey.

 

Pruetz and coworker Paco Bertolani of the University of Cambridge made the observations near Kedougou in southeastern Senegal. Unlike other chimpanzee sites currently under study, which are forested, this site is mostly open savannah. That environment is very much like the one in which early humans evolved and is different enough from other sites to expect differences in chimpanzee behaviors.

 

Pruetz recalled the first time she saw a member of the 35-member troop trimming leaves and side-branches off a branch it had broken off a tree.

 

"I just knew right away that she was making a tool," Pruetz said, adding that she suspected -- with some horror -- what it was for, as well. But in that instance she was not able to follow the chimpanzee to see what she did with it.

 

Eventually the research duo documented 22 instances of spear-making and use, two-thirds of them involving females.

 

In a typical sequence, the animal first discovered a deep hollow suitable for bush babies, which are nocturnal and weigh about half a pound. Then the chimp would break off a nearby branch -- on average about two feet long, but up to twice that length -- trim it, sharpen it with its teeth, and poke it repeatedly into the hollow at a rate of about one or two jabs per second.

 

After every few jabs, the chimpanzee would sniff or lick the tip, as though testing to see if it had "caught" anything.

 

In only one of 22 observations did a chimp get a bush baby. But that is reasonably efficient, Pruetz said, compared to standard chimpanzee hunting practice, which involves chasing a monkey or other prey, grabbing it by the tail and then slamming its head against the ground.

 

In the successful bush baby case, the chimpanzee eventually jumped on the larger branch until it broke, exposing the limp bushbaby, which the chimp then extracted. Whether the animal was dead or alive at that point was unclear, but it did not move or make any sound.

 

Chimpanzee behavior is widely believed to offer a window on early human behavior, and many researchers have hoped that the animals -- which are humans' closest genetic cousins -- might reveal something about the earliest use of wooden tools.

 

Many suspect that wooden tools far predate the use of stone tools -- remnants of which have been found going back two-and-a-half million years. But because wood does not preserve well, the most ancient wooden spears ever found are only about 400,000 years old, leaving open the question of when they first came into use.

 

The discovery that some chimps today make wooden weapons supports the idea that early humans did too -- perhaps as much as 5 million years ago -- Stanford said.

 

Adrienne Zihlman, an anthropologist at the University of California at Santa Cruz, said the work supports other evidence that female chimps are more likely to use tools than males, are more proficient tool users, and are crucial to passing that cultural knowledge to others.

 

"Females are the teachers," Zihlman said, noting that juvenile chimps in Senegal were repeatedly seen watching their mothers make and hunt with spears.

 

"They are efficient and innovative, they are problem solvers, they are curious," Zihlman said of females. And that makes sense, she said.

 

"They are pregnant or lactating or carrying a kid for most of their life," she said. "And they're supposed to be running around in the trees chasing prey?"

 

Frans B. M. de Waal, a primatologist at Emory University, said aggressive tool use is but the latest "uniquely human" behavior to be found to be less than unique.

 

"Such claims are getting old," he said. "With the present pace of discovery, they last a few decades at most."

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They're not chimps. They're abominations - we have to kill them before the lieberals correlate this with proving natural evolution.

 

Kill them we say! We are the voice of God!

 

But, as a serious note... does this mean we'll stop using dogs to blow up landmines and just have chimps throw spears at them now? Not to mention the camoflauge benefits... brown sand... brown chimps... brown people... it's the perfect anti-insurgent.

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Yeah but can they make a gun?

 

Humans-1 Apes-0

 

Yeah, but be honest: is there any other life in the Saharah that's intelligent enough to build a spear?

 

Saharans - 0. Apes - 1. The West - 2.

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But if the apes decide to attack us we have to wait 7 days to buy a gun because of the Brady Bill. And our military is overstretched our defenses are weak.

 

neocons -1

 

neoliberals -1

 

chimps 0

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But if the apes decide to attack us we have to wait 7 days to buy a gun because of the Brady Bill. And our military is overstretched our defenses are weak.

 

neocons -1

 

neoliberals -1

 

chimps 0

 

But, chimps could overthrow governments we don't like, like Sudan.

 

Human Rights - 0

 

Morality - 0

 

Militarism - 20

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But, chimps could overthrow governments we don't like, like Sudan.

 

Human Rights - 0

 

Morality - 0

 

Militarism - 20

 

I wonder what the cost of these new chimp soldiers will be. I figure the bannanas they'll be enough to cut nuke subs. What will be do without you 2 billion dollar vessel?

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They're not chimps. They're abominations - we have to kill them before the lieberals correlate this with proving natural evolution.

 

Kill them we say! We are the voice of God!

 

But, as a serious note... does this mean we'll stop using dogs to blow up landmines and just have chimps throw spears at them now? Not to mention the camoflauge benefits... brown sand... brown chimps... brown people... it's the perfect anti-insurgent.

 

shut the fuck up

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However their most effective weapon is and always will be flinging shit.

 

 

George Bush vs. Chimp - Round One

 

George Bush weapon of choice - nuclear aresenal of 5000

 

Chimp weapon of choice - shit

 

 

Now, I'm not a fighting expert... but I'm pretty much calling the chimp's bluff.

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