Monkeys are considered to be highly intelligent animals, with some species demonstrating impressive cognitive abilities. The level of intelligence exhibited by monkeys can vary depending on the species, their living conditions, and the type of tasks they are asked to perform.
Some of the most intelligent monkeys are members of the family Cercopithecidae, which includes species such as baboons, macaques, and vervet monkeys. These monkeys have relatively large brains compared to other primates and have been observed exhibiting complex problem-solving skills.
However, we might have all even underestimated the intelligence of some of the monkeys.
Macaques might be more creative than we thought
Scientists studying macaques in Thailand have found evidence that these monkeys accidentally create stone flakes that look similar to the flakes made by early humans, according to Gizmodo. Macaques use hammerstones and anvils to crack hard nuts, causing bits of the stones to break off and result in an assemblage of stone flakes. This finding means that some of the earliest evidence of hominin tool use may have actually come from monkeys, not just our ancestors. While stone tool use has been observed in other primates, such as chimpanzees and capuchins, the flakes they produce are not comparable to those produced by early humans.
Tomos Proffitt, the lead author of the study and also a researcher from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, stated:
The ability to intentionally make sharp stone flakes is seen as a crucial point in the evolution of hominins, and understanding how and when this occurred is a huge question that is typically investigated through the study of past artefacts and fossils,
Our study shows that stone tool production is not unique to humans and our ancestors.
The researchers note that the macaques make their stone flakes unintentionally, which contrasts with human stone flake production, which has been attributed to intentional production of stone tools. This discovery highlights the similarities between humans and other primates and may change how scientists view the evolution of early tool use.