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No, not Britney; the pointy kind
February 22, 2007 1:31 PM   Subscribe

Chimpanzees have Learned to Hunt with Spears. While it may not quite be on the level of Dolphins Evolve Opposable Thumbs, it's probably at least a half-step on the "we-are-so-screwed" ladder.
posted by yhbc (66 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Britney Spears?
posted by ColdChef at 1:34 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thought she was looking chimpish lately.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:35 PM on February 22, 2007


Keep your hands off me you damn dirty Ape!

Meh, I wouldn't worry too much until they learn to drive. Those drive-by spearings would be the true 1st sign of the apocolypse.
posted by Gungho at 1:35 PM on February 22, 2007


I'm not even going to mention the post title; I'm just going to sit here enjoying the moment and wait for ColdChef to come crawling back into the thread on his belly.
posted by yhbc at 1:38 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


...pursued by armed chimps.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:40 PM on February 22, 2007


*crawl, crawl, crawl*

Damn my speedy fingers. Speaking of which, it's about time for me to...spear the bushbaby, if you know what I mean.
posted by ColdChef at 1:40 PM on February 22, 2007


Remember when Britney used to be pointy? Spear spear spear.
posted by ColdChef at 1:41 PM on February 22, 2007


Gungho writes "Meh, I wouldn't worry too much until they learn to drive. Those drive-by spearings would be the true 1st sign of the apocolypse."

Not to mention the drive-by poo flingings.
posted by brundlefly at 1:42 PM on February 22, 2007


And Heaven help us if they start figuring out how to put poo on a stick.
posted by Target Practice at 1:46 PM on February 22, 2007


Whoa!
posted by serazin at 1:47 PM on February 22, 2007


When they start playing Bughouse (siamese) chess whilst drinking cognac and reading Flaubert then I'll worry.
posted by exlotuseater at 1:47 PM on February 22, 2007


It appears that the chimps have learnt a grizzly method of slowing them down.

grisly, no?
posted by exlotuseater at 1:48 PM on February 22, 2007


Spear-wielding chimps snack on skewered bushbabies!

They've also apparently learned to manipulate pencils with enough facility to secure gainful employment writing for the New Scientist.
posted by koeselitz at 1:53 PM on February 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


exlotuseater, the author clearly means that chimpanzees are transforming into bears. We're totally screwed.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:54 PM on February 22, 2007


Spear-wielding chimps snack on skewered bushbabies!
Best euphemism ever.
posted by lekvar at 1:56 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


As long as we keep these hybrid bear-chimps away from our lasers, we should be safe.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:02 PM on February 22, 2007


Monkey with Spears
posted by ColdChef at 2:04 PM on February 22, 2007


Could a chimp with a spear consistently win fights with a grizzly? Assume no element of surprise.
posted by bonecrusher at 2:10 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm investing in "protective" black obelisk technology.
posted by drezdn at 2:12 PM on February 22, 2007


Hasn't Stephen Colbert been warning us of the ursine menace? Now they're making cross-species alliances with man's closest relatives, the traitorous chimps, and arming them with pointed sticks! We had better open up negotiations with the bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans, and soon. No need to worry about making a pact with the gibbons, though...they're the wusses of the ape world.
posted by Midnight Creeper at 2:14 PM on February 22, 2007


Bush babies?
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:22 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Those bushbabies have gotten a free ride for too damn long.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:22 PM on February 22, 2007


Clearly the chimpanzees' use of spears is just a front to divert our attention from the weapons of mass destruction they are developing.
posted by amyms at 2:24 PM on February 22, 2007


I appoint myself ambassador to Bonobostan!
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:34 PM on February 22, 2007


First they learn to control robot arms with their minds. Now this.

As long as cats haven't spontaneously evolved thumbs, I think we may be able to weather this, but I'm starting to get a little scared.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:41 PM on February 22, 2007


Give 'em AK47s. That should reduce the appetite for bushmeat.
posted by jfuller at 2:44 PM on February 22, 2007


A cat with thumbs would be a terrible thing indeed...

See, I have this cat named Edison. As an aside, don't ever name your cat Edison, he'll be smart as hell, but he'll go out of his way to prove Alternating Current is dangerous...

Anyways, Edison has a fascination with bread. Whenever we bring bread, or breadlike substances, we need to put it in a cat proof container (usually our metal bread box).

He will scale any height to get to bread. He has managed to get up on our 7 foot high refrigerator in his quest. Once he gets the bread, he just drags it into another room and bites into it, and then leaves it.

This week, he even attempted to knock down the heavy metal bread box.

If he had thumbs, I'm convinced he would invent bread-getting tools.

posted by drezdn at 2:48 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


it's probably at least a half-step on the "we-are-so-screwed" ladder.

Lucky for me, the guy downstairs owns a cavalry sword.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:50 PM on February 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Aaaand it's Dave Faris for the win.
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 2:57 PM on February 22, 2007


next step.
posted by darkripper at 3:00 PM on February 22, 2007


They use the spears to hunt one of the cutest primates in Africa: bushbabies

Don't know why, but this made me laugh.
posted by quin at 3:09 PM on February 22, 2007


... [T]he behaviour is mostly confined to females and immature chimps.... Pruetz suggests th[ey are] exploiting a niche that is relatively ignored by adult males — and spearing little bushbaby snacks for themselves.

Though I'd wager it's the males who actually barbeque the kebabs.
posted by rob511 at 3:14 PM on February 22, 2007


the guy downstairs owns a cavalry sword

*red face*

um, er, the bonobos & i were just taking a bit of a relaxation break from talks...
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:33 PM on February 22, 2007


I think I know where they learned this behavior.
posted by fair_game at 3:54 PM on February 22, 2007


Man I saw a PBS special where a chimp was riding a freakin BIKE!!
posted by stratastar at 3:57 PM on February 22, 2007


They've also apparently learned to manipulate pencils with enough facility to secure gainful employment writing for the New Scientist.

Oh, SNAP
posted by RockCorpse at 3:59 PM on February 22, 2007


Bonobos = Sexy Party
posted by Sparx at 4:04 PM on February 22, 2007


Hasn't Stephen Colbert been warning us of the ursine menace? Now they're making cross-species alliances with man's closest relatives, the traitorous chimps, and arming them with pointed sticks!

Hey, speak for yourself, some of us support the right to arm bears and chimps.
posted by SBMike at 4:07 PM on February 22, 2007


Next thing you know, it'll be sharks with tommy guns.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:02 PM on February 22, 2007


I'm surprised that nobody's mentioned the latest giant squid capture here yet today. Just thought I'd add that in, what with the coming Chimpanzee-Giant Squid alliance and all.
posted by jokeefe at 5:14 PM on February 22, 2007


Woah jokeefe. That's crazy. Has anyone else noticed all the giant squid news lately. We are screwed.

Especially when they team up with the monkeys.
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 5:26 PM on February 22, 2007


Not surprising if you remember the chimps using sticks to get ants out of anthills. This is more likely to impress because it's so human-like, but it's not the first use of tools by chimps to be sure.

Er... *looks at thread*
I mean, I welcome our new chimp overlords.
posted by dreamsign at 5:27 PM on February 22, 2007


The day when we're all well and truly fucked will come when the ants, at long last, master fire.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:34 PM on February 22, 2007


I don't care what your damn monkeys learn, they're still no match for bear.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:41 PM on February 22, 2007


I won't worry until my cat learns to use the can opener. As long as I'm her only source of tuna, I'm safe.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:02 PM on February 22, 2007


Ah, but what's *your* source of tuna?

I hear the giant squid are herding all the tuna into a particularly impregnable part of the ocean (deep and populated by those grisly fish with lights hanging out in front of their awful maws) thus tipping the scales in favour of the chimpbear/giant squid alliance.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:24 PM on February 22, 2007


they're just using the spears like they've always used sticks, i think. Even birds use sticks, so i wouldn't be too worried. If they start actually following and then throwing spears at prey on the run in a coordinated group manner like regular hunters, then it's time for Planet of the Apes, maybe.
posted by amberglow at 7:33 PM on February 22, 2007


Incidentally, amberglow, one of the earliest pieces of archaeological evidence for the reasoning ability in proto-humans was not the use of stone tools in itself. It was when tools started to be manufactured in one place, and then carried elsewhere to be used where that particular quality of stone was not found, which shows a degree of imagination & foresight that is absent in purely imitative learning.

Many animals can learn things by copying, but the jump from knowledge handed down through successive imitation of a chance behavioural discovery, to consciously imagining the consequences of an act, is a significant jump indeed.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:47 PM on February 22, 2007


Kill one human with that, chimpy. G'wan, I dare you. I remember something in Nat'l Geographic about a tribe of proto-humans fighting a tribe of chimps. Apparently close in, humans were getting the worst of it but they later found a great deal of chimp remains at the bottom of a ravine covered in palm sized rocks. The humans methodically killed every chimp they could all the time. Apparently humans have one of the strongest (and longest) adrenal responses. Makes us really, really, vicious.
Of course, it gives us hyperadrenia, stress, heart attacks, hemmorhoids, etc. etc. But if you get into a rock fight with a bunch of chimps...comes in handy.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:25 PM on February 22, 2007


I'm okay with this. They won't use the spears on me, as long as I pay them for washing my cat.
posted by sparkletone at 8:45 PM on February 22, 2007


Man, I'd like to wash a cat.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:47 PM on February 22, 2007


In a cat spa!
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:53 PM on February 22, 2007


Happily, my cat is both thumbless and self-cleaning.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:53 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


(or you could go for this one)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:55 PM on February 22, 2007


Karl Pilkington needs to know about this.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:11 PM on February 22, 2007


Cain and Abel: they're not really human until they use weapons on their own kind. Until then, we can cage them for medical experiments.
posted by orthogonality at 11:44 PM on February 22, 2007


Chimps, Ha! Nothing to worry about. Now, when baboons start learning tricks, then you can worry. Those beasts are scary, and all over the place. Chimps are scarce.
posted by Goofyy at 3:59 AM on February 23, 2007


Meh. This chimp makes knives.
posted by Mr_Zero at 8:40 AM on February 23, 2007


Incidentally, amberglow, one of the earliest pieces of archaeological evidence for the reasoning ability in proto-humans was not the use of stone tools in itself. It was when tools started to be manufactured in one place, and then carried elsewhere to be used where that particular quality of stone was not found, which shows a degree of imagination & foresight that is absent in purely imitative learning.

Cool--i never knew that--it makes perfect sense (and is related to what i meant in a way) : >
posted by amberglow at 2:51 PM on February 23, 2007


“Back to the drawing board again in terms of trying to define how humans are special,” says Pruetz.

Well, for one thing, we have drawing boards.

Britney Spears?

No, they use the sharp kind of spears.
posted by davejay at 4:10 PM on February 23, 2007


I wish they would do more elephant studies--it seems like it's always chimps and dolphins.
posted by amberglow at 4:13 PM on February 23, 2007


(and pigs--aren't they supposed to be surprisingly smart?)
posted by amberglow at 4:14 PM on February 23, 2007


Rice Warns Chimps They Risk Further Sanctions--Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned West African Chimps on Thursday that they will face further punishment and isolation if they forge ahead with efforts to develop a stick-enrichment program,...
posted by amberglow at 11:11 PM on February 23, 2007


Mr_Zero : Meh. This chimp makes knives.

M_Z, on the one hand, that is a really awful link. I mean, we are talking 10+ year old HTML tricks, on the other, it's so interesting that it almost is FPP worthy on it's own (assuming it already hasn't had that honor.)

I'm always amused and slightly stunned by walking into Natural Wonder type mall places and seeing obsidian stone arrowheads on display at child-level.

I remember in college, a flint napper being invited to the commons to demonstrate his technique. As a knife guy I figured he was full of shit, till he performed some feats that the best steel I carried couldn't have pulled off on my sharpest of days. He napped me a short blade which still resides in my collection of dangerous things.

I've never feared a blade, including my Civilian , and my scary-ass Specwar, but that simple obsidian knife he built me always made me want to handle it with kid's gloves.

And now, when I see a child playing with an obsidian arrowhead in a mall, I can only wince, because if that lil' one drops it just right, he will end up with blade flakes that will slice him open in a way that even surgeons will be impressed by.
posted by quin at 12:17 AM on February 24, 2007



And now, when I see a child playing with an obsidian arrowhead in a mall, I can only wince, because if that lil' one drops it just right, he will end up with blade flakes that will slice him open in a way that even surgeons will be impressed by.


I've always thought that's how we actually developed tools/weapons like that--being hurt by them first in their natural state, then realizing we can do that to other things too.
posted by amberglow at 2:49 PM on February 24, 2007


I've never understood why people are charmed by chimpanzees. ...
posted by amberglow at 8:47 PM on February 24, 2007


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