Mythos 3 – Animals and Tools

 

Scientific evidence indicates that the modern human form appeared during the Pleistocene.(1)J. D. Wall and M. Przeworski (2000) “When did the human population start increasing?” Genetics, Volume 155, Pages 1865–1874 At the beginning of the Pleistocene various archaic-hominins were present, such as Paranthropus boisei and Paranthropus robustus. These archaic-hominins are not believed to be human ancestors, but rather other upright walking apes.(2)Richard Dawkins (2004) The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage To the Dawn of Life There is currently no consensus in the scientific community whether the Paranthropus species should be included within the genus Australopithecus or be a distinct genus. The Paranthropus fossils show a creature very much like an ape, with a skeletal structure similar to a gorilla, but approximately the size of a chimpanzee. The average brain size of P. robustus measured to beween 410 and 530 cubic centimeters, approximately the size of a chimpanzee’s brain.

There were also modern-hominins at the beginning of the Pleistocene, such as Homo habilis, and Homo ergaster. There has been scholarly controversy regarding habilis’ placement in the genus Homo rather than the genus Australopithecus, as described in the Journal of Anatomy (2000):

A recent reassessment of cladistic and functional evidence concluded that there are few, if any, grounds for retaining H. habilis in Homo, and recommended that the material be transferred (or, for some, returned) to Australopithecus.- Barnard Wood and Brian G. Richmond (3)Barnard Wood and Brian G. Richmond (2000) "Human evolution: taxonomy and paleobiology" Journal of Anatomy Volume 197 Part 1 Number 19–60 Page 41

Homo habilis was officially announced as new species in 1964 but its placement into the human genus Homo was controversial. Additional fossils, including the discovery of a partial skeleton in 1986, have revealed that this species was more ape-like than previously believed. Their brain size is also a matter of debate with some scholars estimating 363cm³ to 600cm³ and others estimating 550cm³ to 687cm³.(4)Fran Dorey (2013) “Homo habilis” Australian Museum website For reference chimpanzees and orangutans have a cranial capacity of 275cm³ to 500cm³, while gorillas have a cranial capacity of 340cm³ to 752cm³. Despite the ape-like morphology of the bodies, Homo habilis remains are often accompanied by primitive stone tools such as in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania and at Lake Turkana, Kenya. Tool use and manufacture has been reported many times in both wild and captive primates, particularly the great apes.

In 1960, Jane Goodall observed a chimpanzee poking pieces of grass into a termite mound and then raising the grass to his mouth. After he left, Goodall approached the mound and repeated the behavior because she was unsure what the chimpanzee was doing. She found that the termites bit onto the grass with their jaws. The chimpanzee had been using the grass as a tool to fish for termites.(5)“Tool use, hunting & other discoveries” The Jane Goodall Institute Tool use has been documented by a wide range of species including orangutans,(6)“Orangutans: Just Hangin’ On – Orangutan Tools” PBS Nature gorillas,(7)Tetsurō Matsuzawa and Masaki Tomonaga, editors (2006) Cognitive Development in Chimpanzees, Page 398 Capuchin monkeys,(8)D. Fragaszy et al. (2004) “Wild Capuchin monkeys (Cebus libidinosus) use anvils and stone pounding tools”. American Journal of Primatology, Volume 64, Number 4, Pages 359–366 baboons,(9)Charles Darwin (1871) The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, Pages 51-52 mandrills,(10)Victoria Gill (July 22, 2011) “Mandrill monkey makes ‘pedicuring’ tool” BBC News crab-eating macaques,(11)M. D. Gumert et al. (2009) “The physical characteristics and usage patterns of stone axe and pounding hammers used by long-tailed macaques in the Andaman Sea region of Thailand” American Journal of Primatology, Volume 71, Number 7, Pages 594–608 elephants,(12)B. J. Hart et al. (2001) “Cognitive behavior in Asian elephants: use and modification of branches for fly switching” Animal Behaviour, Volume 62, Number 5, Pages 839–47 canines,(13)Tom Lawrie (2011) “Dingoes use tools to solve novel problems” Australian Geographic, bears,(14)Michael Marshall (2012) “Wild bear uses a stone to exfoliate” New Scientist Bottlenose dolphins,(15)R. A. Smolker et al. (1997) “Sponge Carrying by Dolphins (Delphinidae, Tursiops sp.): A Foraging Specialization Involving Tool Use?” Ethology, Volume 103, Number 6, Pages 454–465 sea otters,(16)D. Haley, Editor (1986) “Sea Otter” Marine Mammals of Eastern North Pacific and Arctic Waters mongooses,(17)C. A. Müller (2010) “Do anvil-using banded mongooses understand means-end relationships? A field experiment” Animal Cognition, Volume 13, Pages 325-330 American badgers,(18)Gail R. Michener (2004) “Hunting techniques and tool use by North American badgers preying on Richardson’s ground squirrels” Journal of Mammalogy, Volume 85, Number 5, Pages 1019–1027 woodpecker finches,(19)Lefebvre et al. (2002) Behaviour, Volume 139, Pages 939-940 crows,(20)Carolee Caffrey (2000) “Tool Modification and Use by an American Crow” The Wilson Bulletin, Volume 112, Number 2, Pages 283–284 green jays(21)Douglas C. Gayou (1982) “Tool use by Green Jays” Wilson Bulletin, Volume 94, Number 4, Pages 593–594, warblers,(22)J. Boswall (1977) “Tool-using by birds and related behaviour.” Avicultural Magazine, Volume 83, Pages 88-97 Egyptian vultures,(23)J. Van Lawick-Goodall and H. van Lawick (1966) “Use of tools by the Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus” Nature, Volume 212, Number 5069, Pages 1468–1469 gulls,(24)Pierre-Yves Henry and Jean-Christophe Aznar (2006) “Tool-use in Charadrii: Active Bait-Fishing by a Herring Gull” Waterbirds, Volume 29, Number 2, Pages 233–234 owls,(25)Douglas J. Levey et al. (2014) “Animal behaviour: Use of dung as a tool by burrowing owls” Nature, Volume 431, Number 7004, Page 39 Mugger crocodiles,(26)V. Dinets e al. (2013) “Crocodilians use tools for hunting” Ethology, Ecology & Evolution, Volume 27, Issue 1, Pages 74-78 Octopuses,(27)J. K. Finn et al. (2009) “Defensive tool use in a coconut-carrying octopus” Current Biology, Volume 19, Issue 23, Pages R1069–R1070 several species of wrasses,(28)G. Bernardi (2011) “The use of tools by wrasses (Labridae)” Coral Reefs whitetail major damselfish,(29)M. H. A. Keenleyside (1979) Diversity and Adaptation in Fish Behaviour South American cichlids,(30)M. H. A. Keenleyside and C. Prince (1976) “Spawning-site selection in relation to parental care of eggs in Aequidens paraguayensis (Pisces: Cichlidae)” Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 54, Pages 2135-2139 ants,(31)Michael H.J. Möglich and Gary D. Alpert (1979) “Stone dropping by Conomyrma bicolor (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): A new technique of interference competition”. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Volume 2, Number 6, Pages 105–113 and hunting wasps.(32)Edward O. Wilson (2000) Sociobiology: the New Synthesis, Pages 172

Tool manufacture is much rarer than simple tool use and probably represents higher cognitive functioning. Soon after her initial discovery of tool use, Goodall observed other chimpanzees picking up leafy twigs, stripping off the leaves and using the stems to fish for insects. This change of a leafy twig into a tool was a major discovery. Prior to this, scientists thought that only humans manufactured and used tools, and that this ability was what separated humans from other animals. In 1990, it was claimed the only primate to manufacture tools in the wild was the chimpanzee.(33)C. Boesch and H. Boesch (1990) “Tool use and tool making in wild chimpanzees” Folia Primatol, Volume 54, Numbers 1-2, Pages 86-99 However, since then, several primates have been reported as tool makers in the wild.(34)Christophe Boesch and Hedwige Boesch-Achermann (2000) The Chimpanzees of the Taï Forest: Behavioural Ecology and Evolution, Pages 192 Research in 2007 showed that chimpanzees sharpen sticks to use as weapons when hunting mammals. This is considered the first evidence of systematic use of weapons in a species other than humans. Researchers documented 22 occasions where wild chimpanzees on a savanna of Senegal fashioned sticks into spears to hunt lesser bush babies.(35)Sophie A. de Beaune, et al. (2009) Cognitive Archaeology and Human Evolution, Pages 66

References   [ + ]

1. J. D. Wall and M. Przeworski (2000) “When did the human population start increasing?” Genetics, Volume 155, Pages 1865–1874
2. Richard Dawkins (2004) The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage To the Dawn of Life
3. Barnard Wood and Brian G. Richmond (2000) "Human evolution: taxonomy and paleobiology" Journal of Anatomy Volume 197 Part 1 Number 19–60 Page 41
4. Fran Dorey (2013) “Homo habilis” Australian Museum website
5. “Tool use, hunting & other discoveries” The Jane Goodall Institute
6. “Orangutans: Just Hangin’ On – Orangutan Tools” PBS Nature
7. Tetsurō Matsuzawa and Masaki Tomonaga, editors (2006) Cognitive Development in Chimpanzees, Page 398
8. D. Fragaszy et al. (2004) “Wild Capuchin monkeys (Cebus libidinosus) use anvils and stone pounding tools”. American Journal of Primatology, Volume 64, Number 4, Pages 359–366
9. Charles Darwin (1871) The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, Pages 51-52
10. Victoria Gill (July 22, 2011) “Mandrill monkey makes ‘pedicuring’ tool” BBC News
11. M. D. Gumert et al. (2009) “The physical characteristics and usage patterns of stone axe and pounding hammers used by long-tailed macaques in the Andaman Sea region of Thailand” American Journal of Primatology, Volume 71, Number 7, Pages 594–608
12. B. J. Hart et al. (2001) “Cognitive behavior in Asian elephants: use and modification of branches for fly switching” Animal Behaviour, Volume 62, Number 5, Pages 839–47
13. Tom Lawrie (2011) “Dingoes use tools to solve novel problems” Australian Geographic,
14. Michael Marshall (2012) “Wild bear uses a stone to exfoliate” New Scientist
15. R. A. Smolker et al. (1997) “Sponge Carrying by Dolphins (Delphinidae, Tursiops sp.): A Foraging Specialization Involving Tool Use?” Ethology, Volume 103, Number 6, Pages 454–465
16. D. Haley, Editor (1986) “Sea Otter” Marine Mammals of Eastern North Pacific and Arctic Waters
17. C. A. Müller (2010) “Do anvil-using banded mongooses understand means-end relationships? A field experiment” Animal Cognition, Volume 13, Pages 325-330
18. Gail R. Michener (2004) “Hunting techniques and tool use by North American badgers preying on Richardson’s ground squirrels” Journal of Mammalogy, Volume 85, Number 5, Pages 1019–1027
19. Lefebvre et al. (2002) Behaviour, Volume 139, Pages 939-940
20. Carolee Caffrey (2000) “Tool Modification and Use by an American Crow” The Wilson Bulletin, Volume 112, Number 2, Pages 283–284
21. Douglas C. Gayou (1982) “Tool use by Green Jays” Wilson Bulletin, Volume 94, Number 4, Pages 593–594
22. J. Boswall (1977) “Tool-using by birds and related behaviour.” Avicultural Magazine, Volume 83, Pages 88-97
23. J. Van Lawick-Goodall and H. van Lawick (1966) “Use of tools by the Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus” Nature, Volume 212, Number 5069, Pages 1468–1469
24. Pierre-Yves Henry and Jean-Christophe Aznar (2006) “Tool-use in Charadrii: Active Bait-Fishing by a Herring Gull” Waterbirds, Volume 29, Number 2, Pages 233–234
25. Douglas J. Levey et al. (2014) “Animal behaviour: Use of dung as a tool by burrowing owls” Nature, Volume 431, Number 7004, Page 39
26. V. Dinets e al. (2013) “Crocodilians use tools for hunting” Ethology, Ecology & Evolution, Volume 27, Issue 1, Pages 74-78
27. J. K. Finn et al. (2009) “Defensive tool use in a coconut-carrying octopus” Current Biology, Volume 19, Issue 23, Pages R1069–R1070
28. G. Bernardi (2011) “The use of tools by wrasses (Labridae)” Coral Reefs
29. M. H. A. Keenleyside (1979) Diversity and Adaptation in Fish Behaviour
30. M. H. A. Keenleyside and C. Prince (1976) “Spawning-site selection in relation to parental care of eggs in Aequidens paraguayensis (Pisces: Cichlidae)” Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 54, Pages 2135-2139
31. Michael H.J. Möglich and Gary D. Alpert (1979) “Stone dropping by Conomyrma bicolor (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): A new technique of interference competition”. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Volume 2, Number 6, Pages 105–113
32. Edward O. Wilson (2000) Sociobiology: the New Synthesis, Pages 172
33. C. Boesch and H. Boesch (1990) “Tool use and tool making in wild chimpanzees” Folia Primatol, Volume 54, Numbers 1-2, Pages 86-99
34. Christophe Boesch and Hedwige Boesch-Achermann (2000) The Chimpanzees of the Taï Forest: Behavioural Ecology and Evolution, Pages 192
35. Sophie A. de Beaune, et al. (2009) Cognitive Archaeology and Human Evolution, Pages 66