Breaking into a cashew nut can be difficult; but not if you’re a monkey. Primates in Brazil are well honed in using stones to break into the nuts and new research suggests they have been doing so for more than 700 years. Archaeologists have discovered that more than 100 generations of capuchin monkeys (Cebus libidinosus) have used stones as hammers and anvils to get into hard foods, with younger monkeys learning from their elders. “We have new evidence that suggests monkeys and other primates out of Africa were also using tools for hundreds, possibly thousands of years,” said Michael Haslam a research fellow at Oxford’s Primate Archeology Group and leader of the study. Before the findings, according to the academic, the “only archaeological record of pre-modern, non-human animal tool use” came from three different chimpanzee sites in Africa.
As a result of the most recent study, Haslam said it may provide some knowledge about how human behaviour may have been influenced by monkeys.