W6 Archaeology in the News Post

Primate Archaeology Sheds Light on Human Origins

Date:August 9, 2009

Source:University of Calgary

This article describes the need for an improved method of communication between research programs. In an article titled “Primate archaeology,” Canada Research Chair of Tropical Archaeology Julio Mercader, along with 17 other researchers, present evidence that prompts a much deeper exploration of tool use by primates. They have discovered material evidence that chimpanzees have been using various stone tools for thousands of years. Up until that point, the genus Homo has been thought to be alone in their tool use. Mercader explains that this is a wonderful example of the lack of communication between various research disciplines. He explains that “few archaeologists have seen a wild primate use a tool, while few primatologists have taken part in archaeological excavations.” As a result of his work, he is a co-author of the chimpanzee archeology discipline.

The ability to combine research from various subfields is  leading us to greater discoveries about our past. There is still questions about which specific group had invented this type of stone technology, or if the technology came from a common source; but, we do know that humans are not alone in the use of stone tools. This is an exciting new addition to the field of archeology, and science in general. At the inauguration of this discipline, a new chapter for anthropology is born.

One thought on “W6 Archaeology in the News Post

  1. Your post really fascinated me. I believe that in week one we discussed how archaeology only studies the human’s past. So, when I read about this new discipline named chimpanzee archaeology I was really intrigued. However, to me, it makes sense why they called it chimpanzee archaeology. Archaeology studies the humans past through its remains. So, if they have evidence that chimpanzees used stone tools on a daily basis, which today can be considered remains, it would be very similar to the original archaeology, the only aspect that would change is the species whose past would be studied. Indeed, today the combination of techniques of difference disciplines are very helpful in having a better understanding of the past.

Leave a Reply