Primates

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 95–104

Distribution of potential suitable hammers and transport of hammer tools and nuts by wild capuchin monkeys

  • Elisabetta Visalberghi
  • Noemi Spagnoletti
  • Eduardo D. Ramos da Silva
  • Fabio R. D. Andrade
  • Eduardo Ottoni
  • Patricia Izar
  • Dorothy Fragaszy
Original Article Special contributions to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Japanese primatology

DOI: 10.1007/s10329-008-0127-9

Cite this article as:
Visalberghi, E., Spagnoletti, N., Ramos da Silva, E.D. et al. Primates (2009) 50: 95. doi:10.1007/s10329-008-0127-9

Abstract

Selection and transport of objects to use as tools at a distant site are considered to reflect planning. Ancestral humans transported tools and tool-making materials as well as food items. Wild chimpanzees also transport selected hammer tools and nuts to anvil sites. To date, we had no other examples of selection and transport of stone tools among wild nonhuman primates. Wild bearded capuchins (Cebus libidinosus) in Boa Vista (Piauí, Brazil) routinely crack open palm nuts and other physically well-protected foods on level surfaces (anvils) using stones (hammers) as percussive tools. Here we present indirect evidence, obtained by a transect census, that stones suitable for use as hammers are rare (study 1) and behavioral evidence of hammer transport by twelve capuchins (study 2). To crack palm nuts, adults transported heavier and harder stones than to crack other less resistant food items. These findings show that wild capuchin monkeys selectively transport stones of appropriate size and hardness to use as hammers, thus exhibiting, like chimpanzees and humans, planning in tool-use activities.

Keywords

Hammer distribution Anvil distribution Tool use Stone transport Palm nut Nut-cracking Cebus libidinosus 

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabetta Visalberghi
    • 1
  • Noemi Spagnoletti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eduardo D. Ramos da Silva
    • 4
  • Fabio R. D. Andrade
    • 3
  • Eduardo Ottoni
    • 4
  • Patricia Izar
    • 4
  • Dorothy Fragaszy
    • 5
  1. 1.Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della CognizioneConsiglio Nazionale delle RicercheRomeItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell’UomoSapienza Università di RomaRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Mineralogy and Geotectonics, Institute of GeosciencesUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Experimental Psychology, Institute of PsychologyUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  5. 5.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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