primates

Chris Han
Anthrop. 1
02/19/02
Article Abstract #two
Human evolution is always a myth to most of the people. However, researchers who study human evolution have tried to find the evidences to explain human evolution. In the rain forest of Ivory Coast, a group of local chimpanzees has been observed by researchers Christophe Boesch and Hedwige Boesch-Achermann since 1979. The place where they conducted this research is called the Tai national park which is a 1,600 square Miles of a tropical forest in the republic of the Ivory Coast. In the beginning, they are interested in local chimpanzees of using natural-hammers which are stones and branches to open hard-shell nuts. They had never seen another primate using stones as a tool before except our human being. Not only the chimpanzees in the Tai national park know how to use the stones as a tool, but they also would select the appropriate size of stone which near the tree instead of running around to search the stone. The researchers think that this kind of mental ability is close to a nine-year-old human.

As their work progressed, another significant discovery that surprised them is that chimpanzees are eating meat. Not only this, chimpanzees are also hunting cooperatively as a group. This notion of group hunting and cooperation is the key ingredient in the evolution of homo sapiens which is proposed by Raymond Dart in 1953. However, group hunting and sharing food could also be found in some social carnivores such as lions for instance. But many anthropologists still think that this kind of phenomenon is familiar with human in 1.8 million years ago when the time we first started to develop social system. Furthermore, anthropologists also believe that by observing the behavior of forest chimpanzees might help us to understand the theories of human evolution.

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Sharing food, hunting cooperation, and using tools reflect the evolution of human being in some ways. However, any comparison between chimpanzees and our hominid ancestors can only be suggestive, not definitive. The theories of human evolution are still searching. However, we, the human, are destroying the tropical rain forest by extensive logging in these years. It threatens the chimpanzees habitat. In the future, the opportunity of learning their society will become harder and harder.