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They’re Not Just throwing Poo Anymore
Posted by: Dale Franks on Saturday, February 24, 2007

Well, this can't be good...
Chimpanzees living in the West African savannah have been observed fashioning deadly spears from sticks and using the tools to hunt small mammals — the first routine production of deadly weapons ever observed in animals other than humans.

The multistep spearmaking 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...

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. Then, grasping the weapons in a "power grip," they jabbed them into tree-branch hollows where bush babies — small, monkeylike mammals — sleep during the day.
Next thing you know, bonobos will be processing uranium, and then where will we be?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

You missed the money quote:
In one case, after repeated stabs, a chimpanzee removed the injured or dead animal and ate it, the researchers reported in yesterday’s online issue of the journal Current Biology.

"It was really alarming how forceful it was," said lead researcher Jill D. Pruetz of Iowa State University, adding that it reminded her of the murderous shower scene in the Alfred Hitchcock movie "Psycho." "It was kind of scary."
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I’m sure the chimps will be applying to the UN as soon as they can get someone to help them file the paperwork. And the tragedy is that they’ll probably be more honest and easier to deal with than some of the members there now.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
A few paragraphs down in the article, Pruetz of the “Psycho” comment above is quoted as saying she “suspected — with some horror — what [the sharpened stick] was for.”

I don’t want to imply that I would calmly relish the sight of a chimp repeatedly stabbing a bush baby to death, but the horrified comparison to murder strikes me as odd, particularly for someone who’s spent years observing the critters in wild Senegal. Actually, to me it’s just gosh darned arresting that one of the field researchers documenting this would represent it – anthropomorphize it, really – as murderous and horrifying. It’s hunting, lady. For food and survival and stuff. Busy babies apparently aren’t cuddly little chimp dolls in the eyes of the chimps. They’re protein.

The discovery itself is very noteworthy. Chimps fashion not just tools but tools that are weapons. But what is the primatologist, quoted at the end of the article, getting at when he says that claims of this or that human behavior being “uniquely human” are “getting old”? Is he implying that in the end we will find no attributes and abilities that humans do not share with other animals? It would be interesting to know how the chimps interpret such a hypothesis.
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Is he implying that in the end we will find no attributes and abilities that humans do not share with other animals? It would be interesting to know how the chimps interpret such a hypothesis.
Perhaps the only truly unique human behavior is the ability of squeemish academics to anthropomorphize animal behavior.
Written By: kyle N
Chimp A: "Hey B, when you took down that bush baby, the Hairless One started crying."

Chimp B: "Aw, just like a chimpanzee!"

Chimp A: "Yeah, but B, pretty soon they’ll put down their shiny trinkets and start fashioning spears out of sticks, and then where will we be?"
Written By: Bryan Pick
"It was kind of scary."

Quick! Call in the grief counselors! We have a potential psychological trauma in progress!

Since Chimps are so much like people, it won’t be long before some Chimps organize to ban sticks, or at least "assault sticks". I think maybe the increased temperatures due to global warming has something to do with it.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

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