Working along a riverbank in a West African rain forest, researchers have uncovered remnants from a chimpanzee stone age that started at least 4,300 years ago. The finds constitute the only evidence yet detected of prehistoric ape behavior.
Most of the more than 200 stone artifacts found at three sites in Taï National Park, Ivory Coast, were used by prehistoric chimps to crack open nuts, say archaeologist Julio Mercader of the University of Calgary in Alberta and his colleagues. The animals placed nuts on the flat surface of one rock and smashed the tough shells with another rock.
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