Wild capuchin monkey archaeology

Author(s): Michael Haslam

Year: 2016


The known record of tool use in the human lineage now extends back 3.3 million years. For other animals, however, we have very few clues as to how and when their tool use behaviors evolved. Study of tool use among extant primates, in particular, offers an opportunity to develop comparative models and analogies for human technologies. Here, I present the results of recent archaeological investigations into stone pounding behavior by wild bearded capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) in Brazil. These monkeys leave a distinctive pattern of tools on the landscape, including accumulation of selected, transported, use-worn stones. Our excavation and dating of capuchin sites demonstrates that their tool use extends at least to the Brazilian Pre-Columbian era, making these the oldest known non-hominin tools outside Africa.

Cite this Record

Wild capuchin monkey archaeology. Michael Haslam. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405058)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;