Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

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Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#1  Postby DoctorE » Mar 04, 2016 10:24 am

Chimpanzees in the savannah of Guinea and the forests of Liberia have been captured picking up stones and throwing them at a tree as well as placing them gently at the base

Chimpanzees in Guinea and the forests of Liberia have been observed picking up stones and throwing them at a tree as well as placing them gently at the base - behaviour that appeared to serve no purpose and could be evidence of "ritualistic behaviour" in animals.

"What we saw on this camera was exhilarating – a large male chimp approaches our mystery tree and pauses for a second. He then quickly glances around, grabs a huge rock and flings it full force at the tree trunk," said Laura Kehoe, PhD researcher at Humboldt University of Berlin.

Continues: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science ... hrine.html
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#2  Postby Animavore » Mar 04, 2016 10:27 am

Maybe they just don't like the stupid tree.
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#3  Postby tuco » Mar 04, 2016 10:48 am

Maybe they cant choose to stop. This should be investigated.
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#4  Postby Bubalus » Mar 04, 2016 12:57 pm

Obviously they're fundamentalist Islamic chimps and the tree has committed adultery, spreading it's seed promiscuously :)
"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” -Stephen Hawking‏
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#5  Postby CarlPierce » Mar 04, 2016 1:12 pm

I assumed it was yet another piece on muslims.
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#6  Postby Briton » Mar 04, 2016 1:29 pm

Front page of the Daily Mail; Does This Prove Chimps Believe in God? FFS.
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#7  Postby DoctorE » Mar 04, 2016 1:31 pm

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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#8  Postby Hobbes Choice » Mar 04, 2016 1:48 pm

Conflict between hunter gatherer groups, and between chimps and gorilla clades is rare to diminishing. Warfare in an organised sense of more a feature of civilisation since civilisation involves putting down root, planting crops and protecting them. So that once where land was free, and groups able to move about the landscape to find more resources, civilisation brings borders and the warrior specialism, unknown to pre-civilised humans.
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#9  Postby Animavore » Mar 04, 2016 2:29 pm

There's a number of headlines asking do the chimps believe in God and one claiming outright -

Chimps believe in God, researcher claims

http://www.premier.org.uk/News/World/Ch ... her-claims

Maybe they're just superstitious, like Skinner's pigeon. One chimp threw a stone at a tree and something happened. Correlation was mistaken for causation, and the chimps are still throwing rocks.
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#10  Postby ronmcd » Mar 04, 2016 2:57 pm

Animavore wrote:Correlation was mistaken for causation, and the chimps are still throwing rocks.

Probably. Maybe food fell from the tree, coincidentally or because of the rock. Lazy chimps. They'll be building sofas next.
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#11  Postby Blackadder » Mar 04, 2016 4:52 pm

The chimps are still operating on a higher intellectual plane than Ray Comfort, who is still wrestling with the metaphysical implications of the Banana, something that chimp philosophers resolved aeons ago.
That credulity should be gross in proportion to the ignorance of the mind that it enslaves, is in strict consistency with the principle of human nature. - Percy Bysshe Shelley
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#12  Postby Doubtdispelled » Mar 04, 2016 7:06 pm

ronmcd wrote:
Animavore wrote:Correlation was mistaken for causation, and the chimps are still throwing rocks.

Probably. Maybe food fell from the tree, coincidentally or because of the rock. Lazy chimps. They'll be building sofas next.


I was thinking along those lines, but also, rather than believing in god, maybe the chimps are believers in the old idea of hitting a tree to make it produce more fruit?

It's modern equivalent is ring barking, or girdling...

Orchardists use girdling as a cultural technique to yield larger fruit or set fruit, often called cincturing used in agriculture. Only the layer just under the bark is removed for this technique......

Girdling is also used as a technique to force a fruit-bearing plant to bear larger fruit. A farmer would place a girdle (bark removal) at base of a large branch or at the trunk. Thus, all sugars manufactured by the leaves have no sinks but the fruit, which grows to above the normal size. For grapes girdling or cincturing is used to make the grapes large and sweeter on the grape canopy and are sold as girdled grapes. Flowering and fruit setting is a problem on some trees; girdling may improve yield in the same way. The "damage" done by girdling restricts the movement of nutrients to the roots, thus the carbohydrates produced in the leaves do not go to the roots for storage. Girdling temporarily stops tree growth. Root pruning, an ancient Asian practice, and other controlled damaging, such as driving nails into the trunk or beating the branches and trunk, produce results that are similar to girdling. Girdling is commonly used on grape, avocado, apple, litchi, mango, citrus and other trees. Girdling is normally only done to healthy trees that did not yield well the previous year.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girdling


It would be interesting to know what type of tree is involved, but I couldn't find any reference.
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#13  Postby laklak » Mar 05, 2016 3:10 am

My brother in law beats his avocado tree with an old motorcycle drive chain. Claims it produces more fruit.
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#14  Postby mcgruff » Mar 05, 2016 9:27 am

Briton wrote:Front page of the Daily Mail; Does This Prove Chimps Believe in God? FFS.


LOTS of chimps believe in god... :evilgrin:
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#15  Postby mcgruff » Mar 05, 2016 9:43 am

When chimps look at humans they must think we're very odd. Lots of things we do don't make any sense at all. Like talking into a phone. Or reading a book. They simply won't understand what we're doing.

So if chimps ever hit upon a new technology or a new physical phenomena which humans have failed to discover, they will look every bit as strange as we do to them when we're talking animatedly into an iphone.
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#16  Postby Griz_ » Mar 05, 2016 2:42 pm

I was so sure that this was a clever title for a thread about the GOP debates.
Interesting story and some interesting hypothesis.
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#17  Postby laklak » Mar 05, 2016 4:20 pm

Chimps are free from Original Sin, therefore they're throwing the first stone.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way. - Mark Twain
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! - Chicken Little
I never go without my dinner. No one ever does, except vegetarians and people like that - Oscar Wilde
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#18  Postby Evolving » Mar 05, 2016 4:27 pm

:rofl:

Very good!
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#19  Postby Caper » Mar 05, 2016 5:06 pm

laklak wrote:My brother in law beats his avocado tree with an old motorcycle drive chain. Claims it produces more fruit.


I've never heard it described that way before but ... oh, you mean it literally.
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Re: Stone-throwing chimps leave scientists stumped

#20  Postby Caper » Mar 05, 2016 5:10 pm

Griz_ wrote:I was so sure that this was a clever title for a thread about the GOP debates.
Interesting story and some interesting hypothesis.


Damn - ya kinda stole my punchline.
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