, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 413–423 | Cite as

Stone handling by Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata): Implications for tool use of stone

  • Michael A. Huffman
  • Duane Quiatt


Stone-play, a newly innovated cultural behavior, has been observed among the free-ranging Arashiyama B troop Japanese macaques near Kyoto, Japan since 1979. Conditions in which the non-purposeful handling of stones might possibly give rise to tool behavior are discussed. The progression of this behavior is traced through three phases: transmission, tradition, and transformation. During the first two phases, through social learning, the behavior was established within the group as a regular item of their behavioral repertoire and was most frequently observed after eating provisioned grain. In the third phase, observations suggest a “faddish” shift in the practice of certain behavioral sub-types between 1984 and 1985. During this period young individuals increasingly began to carry stones away from the feeding station, mixing stone manipulation with forage-feeding activities in the forest. Observations suggest under such conditions, stone handling is likely to lead to the occasional use of stone as a tool. This conclusion probably can be applied to species other thanMacaca fuscata. Consideration of the eco-setting and social learning correlates of stone handling suggests how the instrumental use of stone might emerge from a tradition of non-instrumental manipulation.

Key Words

Japanese macaque Play Diet and behavior Tool behavior evolution Cultural transmission 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bard, K. L. &J. Vauclair, 1984. The communicative context of object manipulation in ape and human adult-infant pairs.J. Human Evol., 13: 181–190.Google Scholar
  2. Beck, B. B., 1980.Animal Tool Behavior: The Use and Manufacture of Tools by Animals. Garland, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Camberfort, V. P., 1981. A comparative study of culturally transmitted patterns of feeding habits in the chacma baboonPapio ursinus and the vervet monkeyCercopithecus aethiops.Folia Primatol., 36: 243–263.Google Scholar
  4. Candland, D. K., J. A. French, &C. N. Johnson, 1978. Object-play: test of a categorized model by the genesis of object play inMacaca fuscata. In:Social Play in Primates,E. O. Smith (ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 259–296.Google Scholar
  5. Goodall, J., 1968. The behaviour of free-living chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream Reserve.Anim. Behav. Monogr., 1: 161–311.Google Scholar
  6. Hamilton, W., 1973.Life's Color Code. McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  7. ————,R. Buskirk, &W. Buskirk, 1978. Environmental developmental determinants of object manipulation by chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) in two Southern African environments.J. Human Evol., 7: 205–216.Google Scholar
  8. Hiraiwa, M., 1975. Pebble-collecting behavior by juvenile Japanese monkeys.Monkey, 19(5–6): 24–25. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  9. Huffman, M. A., 1984. Stone-play ofMacaca fuscata in Arashiyama B troop: transmission of a non-adaptive behavior.J. Human Evol., 13: 725–735.Google Scholar
  10. Isaac, G., 1971. The diet of early man: aspects of archaeological evidence from Lower and Middle Pleistocene sites in Africa.World Archaeol., 2: 278–299.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. ————, 1983. Aspects of human evolution. In:Evolution from Molecules to Man,D. S. Bendall (ed.), Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, pp. 509–543.Google Scholar
  12. Itani, J., 1958. On the acquisition and propagation of a new food habit in the troop of Japanese monkeys at Takasakiyama.Primates, 1: 84–98. (in Japanese). Translated into English for Japanese Monkeys, a Collection of Translations Selected byKinji Imanishi, S. A. Altmann (ed. & publ.).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kawai, M., 1965. Newly acquired pre-cultural behavior of the natural troop of Japanese monkeys on Koshima islet.Primates, 6: 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kawamura, S., 1959. The process of sub-human culture propagation among Japanese macaques.Primates, 2: 43–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kurland, J. A. &S. J. Beckerman, 1985. Optimal foraging and hominid evolution: labor and reciprocity.Amer. Anthropol., 87: 73–93.Google Scholar
  16. Lancaster, J. B. &C. S. Lancaster, 1983. Parental investment: the hominid adaptation. In:How Humans Adapt, a Biocultural Odyssey,D. J. Ortner (ed.), Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., pp. 33–56.Google Scholar
  17. McGrew, W. C., 1977. Socialization and object manipulation of wild chimpanzees. In:Primate Biosocial Development,S. Chevalier-Skolnikoff &F. E. Poirier (eds.), Garland, New York, pp. 261–288.Google Scholar
  18. Menzel, Jr. E. W., K. R. Davenport, &C. M. Rogers, 1970. The development of tool using in wild-born and restriction-reared chimpanzees.Folia Primatol., 12: 273–283.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Nishida, T., 1986. Learning and cultural transmission in non-human primates. In:Primate Societies,D. Cheney,L. Leland,L. Seyfarth,B. B. Smuts,T. Strhusaker, &R. W. Wrangham (eds.), Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago. (in press)Google Scholar
  20. Parker, S. &K. Gibson, 1977. Object manipulation, tool use and sensorimotor intelligence as feeding adaptations inCebus monkeys and great apes.J. Human Evol., 6: 623–641.Google Scholar
  21. Rumbaugh, D., 1970. Learning skills of anthropoids. In:Primate Behavior, Vol. 1,L. Rosenblum (ed.), Aldine, New York, pp. 1–70.Google Scholar
  22. Schiller, P. H., 1957. Innate motor action as a basis of learning. In:Instinctive Behavior,C. H. Schiller (ed.), International Univ. Press, New York, pp. 264–287.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Huffman
    • 1
  • Duane Quiatt
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Human Evolution Studies, Faculty of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Colorado at DenverDenverUSA

Personalised recommendations