Stone Throwing Might Be A Ritualistic Chimpanzee Behavior!


Scientists have repeatedly found that chimps are almost as smart as us. Certain chimpanzee behaviors actually leave us wondering if they are, in fact, even smarter than we thought. Smarter or not, a new group of international scientists has discovered that chimpanzees from three African countries are engaged in ‘ritualistic’ practices! But what is this weird chimpanzee behavior that we are calling a ritual? 

Stone Throwing Might Be A Ritualistic Chimpanzee Behavior

Turns out, chimps like collecting rocks, like many humans. Only, these stones are stored in the hollows of trees. The fun begins as a chimpanzee, usually a male, comes forth, picks a stone from this hollow, walks away, and then throws this stone at the very tree. This contact leaves a mark on the tree, and the rock is placed back on the hollow. 

Stone Throwing Might Be A Ritualistic Chimpanzee Behavior

If you’re wondering what this all means, we honestly have no clue. Peculiar only to the great apes belonging to Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia, this chimpanzee behavior can mean a lot of things. For instance, this might be the apes’ way to mark the tree as sacred, a practice similar to the ones practiced by humans in Africa. It could also be something like cairns , which are basically piles of rocks that serve a number of purposes, like marking a holy spot or marking a place as a memorial site.

Stone Throwing Might Be A Ritualistic Chimpanzee Behavior

The study was conducted by a team of 80 international scientists led by Hjalmar S. Kuhl and Ammie K. Kalan. To document this behavior, the team set up camera traps in four locations of these areas. However, such behavior has not yet been found in chimpanzees from the East.

Stone Throwing Might Be A Ritualistic Chimpanzee Behavior

The video has sparked the speculation that chimp behavior of these areas might, in fact, be influenced by similar human behavior prevalent in these very areas. It could also be a display of male power, seeing as it’s mostly male chimps who come forward to throw stones at trees. But would it be too far-fetched to say that chimpanzees might have a spiritual side, like humans? After all, so much of their actions match ours, maybe thoughts do too?

However pleasing that might sound, though, it might also be that chimps are just having fun, because they love the sound the collision of trees and stones makes. 

The discovery of this ritualistic chimpanzee behavior is important because this is one of the first times we have seen them think and act beyond survival. 

You’ll also like how chimps use bugs to treat their own wounds and their friends’!


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