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Humans not special because some monkeys can flake tools?

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Capuchins unintentionally creating fractured flakes and cores/Michael Haslam, Primate Archaeology Group

From ScienceDaily:

University of Oxford. “Monkeys are seen making stone flakes so humans are ‘not unique’ after all: Wild-bearded capuchin monkeys in Brazil deliberately break stones, unintentionally creating flakes that share many of the characteristics of those produced by early Stone Age hominins.” ScienceDaily, 19 October 2016.

Researchers have observed wild-bearded capuchin monkeys in Brazil deliberately break stones, unintentionally creating flakes that share many of the characteristics of those produced by early Stone Age hominins. The difference is that the capuchins’ flakes are not intentional tools for cutting and scraping, but seem to be the by-product of hammering or ‘percussive behaviour’ that the monkeys engage in to extract minerals or lichen from the stones.

In a paper, published in Nature, the research team says this finding is significant because archaeologists had always understood that the production of multiple stone flakes with characteristics such as conchoidal fractures and sharp cutting edges was a behaviour unique to hominins. The paper suggests that scholars may have to refine their criteria for identifying intentionally produced early stone flakes made by hominins, given capuchins have been observed unintentionally making similar tools. Paper. (paywall) More. – Tomos Proffitt, Lydia V. Luncz, Tiago Falótico, Eduardo B. Ottoni, Ignacio de la Torre, Michael Haslam. Wild monkeys flake stone tools. Nature, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nature20112

“Unintentionally?” Could the monkeys do anything else we would notice? Why aren’t they doing arithmetic now?

Can no one see where this line of reasoning must lead?

See also: Are apes entering the Stone Age?

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2 Replies to “Humans not special because some monkeys can flake tools?

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    “For example, cashew nuts are native to this area of Brazil, and it is possible that the first humans to arrive here learned about this unknown food through watching the monkeys and their primate cashew-processing industry,” Haslam said.”

    Umm, maybe vice versa? Monkey see, monkey do anyone? Anyone?

    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/0.....udy-finds/

    Breaking News – Monkey teaching Human to use keyboard:

    http://giphy.com/gifs/service-.....hl1KPyzRqU

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    A few notes:

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

    5 Reasons Why Humanity Didn’t Begin as a Population – Fazale Rana PhD
    Evolutionary biologists argue for this mainstream idea (that there were many first humans, not just two), but I’m reluctant to accept these claims for a number of reasons.1
    1. The idea that humanity arose as a population is a theory-laden concept that is a necessary entailment of the evolutionary paradigm. Biologists view evolution as a population-level phenomenon. Populations evolve, individuals don’t. As a consequence, there can’t be a primordial pair—if one views human origins from an evolutionary framework. To put it another way, humans must have emerged from a population by definition.
    2. The methods used to determine population sizes rely on simplified and idealized mathematical models that are highly sensitive to input parameters. Because of that the population numbers need to be viewed as rough estimates, at best.
    3. These models do a poor job in taking into account the effects of population structure, migrations, and gene flow all of which can lead to misleading population size calculations.2
    4. Population size methods have not been validated. That is, there are not any studies that demonstrate that these methods produce accurate results for population size estimates, when applied to known situations. Studies in conservation biology suggest that these models don’t accurately predict genetic variability when the original population size is known. As a case in point, in three separate studies involving Mouflon sheep, Przewalski’s horses, and gray whales, genetic diversity (measured generations after the initial population) was much greater than expected based on the models.
    5. Other studies in conservation biology raise questions about the validity of the mathematical relationships that undergird the population size methods. In fact, these concerns prompted one research team to question if these problems invalidate population size estimates in humans. These researchers state, “Recently, however, Bazin et al. (2006) have argued that mtDNA variation is a poor indicator of population size in animals. . . . This raises the question of whether mtDNA is in fact a reliable predictor of human population size.”3
    http://www.reasons.org/blogs/t.....population

    “A number of hominid crania are known from sites in eastern and southern Africa in the 400- to 200-thousand-year range, but none of them looks like a close antecedent of the anatomically distinctive Homo sapiens…Even allowing for the poor record we have of our close extinct kin, Homo sapiens appears as distinctive and unprecedented…there is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became who we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”
    Dr. Ian Tattersall: – paleoanthropologist – emeritus curator of the American Museum of Natural History – (Masters of the Planet, 2012)

    “We have all seen the canonical parade of apes, each one becoming more human. We know that, as a depiction of evolution, this line-up is tosh (i.e. nonsense). Yet we cling to it. Ideas of what human evolution ought to have been like still colour our debates.”
    Henry Gee, editor of Nature (478, 6 October 2011, page 34, doi:10.1038/478034a),

    When we consider the remote past, before the origin of the actual species Homo sapiens, we are faced with a fragmentary and disconnected fossil record. Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor.
    Richard Lewontin – “Human Diversity”, pg.163 (Scientific American Library, 1995) – Harvard Zoologist

    Skull “Rewrites” Story of Human Evolution — Again – Casey Luskin – October 22, 2013
    Excerpt: “There is a big gap in the fossil record,” Zollikofer told NBC News. “I would put a question mark there. Of course it would be nice to say this was the last common ancestor of Neanderthals and us, but we simply don’t know.” –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....78221.html

    Human Origins, and the Real Reasons for Evolutionary Skepticism – Jonathan M. – December 9, 2012
    Excerpt: “Cladistic analysis of cranial and dental evidence has been widely used to generate phylogenetic hypotheses about humans and their fossil relatives. However, the reliability of these hypotheses has never been subjected to external validation. To rectify this, we applied internal methods to equivalent evidence from two groups of extant higher primates for whom reliable molecular phylogenies are available, the hominoids and paionins. We found that the phylogenetic hypotheses based on the craniodental data were incompatible with the molecular phylogenies for the groups. Given the robustness of the molecular phylogenies, these results indicate that little confidence can be placed in phylogenies generated solely from higher primate craniodental evidence. The corollary of this is that existing phylogenetic hypotheses about human evolution are unlikely to be reliable.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....67181.html

    No Known Hominin Is Common Ancestor of Neanderthals and Modern Humans, Study Suggests – Oct. 21, 2013
    Excerpt: The article, “No known hominin species matches the expected dental morphology of the last common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans,” relies on fossils of approximately 1,200 molars and premolars from 13 species or types of hominins — humans and human relatives and ancestors. Fossils from the well-known Atapuerca sites have a crucial role in this research, accounting for more than 15 percent of the complete studied fossil collection.,,,
    They conclude with high statistical confidence that none of the hominins usually proposed as a common ancestor, such as Homo heidelbergensis, H. erectus and H. antecessor, is a satisfactory match.
    “None of the species that have been previously suggested as the last common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans has a dental morphology that is fully compatible with the expected morphology of this ancestor,” Gómez-Robles said.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....153202.htm

    A Closer Look At Human and Chimp Similarities and Differences – video (2016)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGqtB44AEKU

    In “Science,” 1975, M-C King and A.C. Wilson were the first to publish a paper estimating the degree of similarity between the human and the chimpanzee genome. This documented the degree of genetic similarity between the two (approx. 99% amino acid similarity) ! The study, using a limited data set, found that we were far more similar than was thought possible at the time. Hence, we must be one with apes mustn’t we? But…in the second section of their paper King and Wilson honestly describe the deficiencies of such reasoning:
    “The molecular similarity between chimpanzees and humans is extraordinary because they differ far more than sibling species in anatomy and way of life. Although humans and chimpanzees are rather similar in the structure of the thorax and arms, they differ substantially not only in brain size but also in the anatomy of the pelvis, foot, and jaws, as well as in relative lengths of limbs and digits (38).
    Humans and chimpanzees also differ significantly in many other anatomical respects, to the extent that nearly every bone in the body of a chimpanzee is readily distinguishable in shape or size from its human counterpart (38).
    Associated with these anatomical differences there are, of course, major differences in posture (see cover picture), mode of locomotion, methods of procuring food, and means of communication. Because of these major differences in anatomy and way of life, biologists place the two species not just in separate genera but in separate families (39). So it appears that molecular and organismal methods of evaluating the chimpanzee human difference yield quite different conclusions (40).”
    King and Wilson went on to suggest that the morphological and behavioral differences between humans and apes,, must be due to variations in their genomic regulatory systems.
    David Berlinski – The Devil’s Delusion – Page 162&163
    Evolution at Two Levels in Humans and Chimpanzees Mary-Claire King; A. C. Wilson – 1975

    Comparing the human and chimpanzee genomes: Searching for needles in a haystack – Ajit Varki1 and Tasha K. Altheide – 2005
    Excerpt: we have many characteristics that are uniquely human. Table 1 lists some of the definite and possible phenotypic traits that appear to differentiate us from chimpanzees and other “great apes”2. For the most part, we do not know which genetic features interact with the environment to generate these differences between the “phenomes”3 of our two species. The chimpanzee has also long been seen as a model for human diseases because of its close evolutionary relationship. This is indeed the case for a few disorders. Nevertheless, it is a striking paradox that chimpanzees are in fact not good models for many major human diseases/conditions (see Table 2) (Varki 2000; Olson and Varki 2003).
    http://genome.cshlp.org/conten.....l.pdf+html
    Table 1. Some phenotypic traits of humans for comparison with those of great apes
    http://genome.cshlp.org/conten.....nsion.html

    Alternative Splicing Codes are Species Specific
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UMbNM8V2b7mRzPJt05mlev3UO4SG1bMTV5wkNunezjY/edit

    “Speech is 95 percent plus of what lifts man above animal! Physically, man is a sad case. His teeth, including his incisors, which he calls eyeteeth, are baby-size and can barely penetrate the skin of a too-green apple. His claws can’t do anything but scratch him where he itches. His stringy-ligament body makes him a weakling compared to all the animals his size. Animals his size? In hand-to-paw, hand-to-claw, or hand-to-incisor combat, any animal his size would have him for lunch. Yet man owns or controls them all, every animal that exists, thanks to his superpower: speech.”
    —Tom Wolfe, in the introduction to his book, The Kingdom of Speech

    Verse:

    Genesis 1:26
    Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

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