Do chimps believe in God? Mysterious 'ritual' captured

By: ANI | Last Updated: Monday, 7 March 2016 12:13 PM
Do chimps believe in God? Mysterious 'ritual' captured

Image-Representational/AFP

Washington D.C: While rock-banging and throwing have been observed in wild chimpanzees previously, this is for the first time this behaviour has raised question as to whether or not animals are able to form religious beliefs.

As a part of Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology’s ‘Pan African Programme: The Cultured Chimpanzee,’ the West African chimps were filmed placing and throwing rocks at the foot of a tree and also filling gaps in the tree.

Experts have stated that there is no reason why they should be doing this, potentially meaning that it is the beginning of ritual behaviour.

After discovering conspicuous piles of stones next to trees at four research sites in West Africa, the field teams placed camera traps next to them. For instance, at the site of the Chimbo Foundation in Guinea Bissau some impressive videos were recorded which confirmed the researchers’ suspicion that chimpanzees were responsible for these stone piles and were regularly visiting these trees.

The PanAf cameras filmed individual chimpanzees picking up stones from beside or inside trees and then throwing those at these trees while emitting a long-distance pant hoot vocalization, says Ammie Kalan.

Importantly, the behavior results in accumulations of rocks at these locations. Whereas it is mainly the adult males practicing this behavior in the context of ritualized displays, some camera traps also revealed females or juveniles doing it. The behavior has only been observed in West Africa and appears to be independent of any foraging context, in which the majority of tool-use behaviors were previously described in chimpanzees.

“This study reports a new chimpanzee behavior not known previously and highlights the potential of the PanAf project to uncover unknown facets of the life of chimpanzees, our closest living relative, said researcher Christophe Boesch, adding “As the stone accumulation behavior does not seem to be linked to either the abundance of stones or the availability of suitable trees in an area, it is likely that it has some cultural elements.”

Chimpanzees are often used as a model for the evolution of early hominins. Due to the conspicuous accumulations of stones associated with this newly discovered behavior, it raises questions regarding the interpretation of stone accumulation sites in archaeology. Intriguingly, the authors also suggest that this behavior could shed some light on the origin of ritual sites in hominin evolution.

The study appears in Scientific Reports.

First Published: Monday, 7 March 2016 12:11 PM

Related Stories

Salim Khan should lock his son Salman Khan inside house: Shiv Sena
Salim Khan should lock his son Salman Khan inside house: Shiv Sena

Addressing the media on Friday, Salman had said, “Pakistan actors are not terrorists. They

In Graphics: How to use Reliance Jio SIM on non-VoLTE phones
In Graphics: How to use Reliance Jio SIM on non-VoLTE phones

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance has shaken the mobile network space with disruptive pricing. On this

In Graphics: Sana Faisal, popular TV host in Pakistan, 'Poisoned By Fan'
In Graphics: Sana Faisal, popular TV host in Pakistan, 'Poisoned By Fan'

In a shocking incident, a popular TV host of a news channel Abb Takk was allegedly poisoned by a

In Graphics: Colors apologises after Tannishtha Chaterjee's walk out from 'Comedy Nights Bachao'
In Graphics: Colors apologises after Tannishtha Chaterjee's walk out from 'Comedy Nights Bachao'

‘Parched’ actor Tannishtha Chatterjee slams TV channel Colors over racist comment on

Erica Fernandes excited to dress as a bride
Erica Fernandes excited to dress as a bride

Mumbai: Actress Erica Fernandes, who plays Sonakshi Bose in TV show “Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi”, will

BIGG BOSS 10: Pammi Aunty aka Summier Pasricha, another name in the list
BIGG BOSS 10: Pammi Aunty aka Summier Pasricha, another name in the list

New Delhi: With each passing day, Bigg Boss 10 Premiere date is coming close and the bar of our excitement is also

Karan Patel DELETES his ANGRY INDIAN post and says sorry
Karan Patel DELETES his ANGRY INDIAN post and says sorry

New Delhi: Yeh Hai Mohabbatein’s lead actor Karan Patel is an outspoken and straight forward person. Yesterday actor

TV couple Aparna Dixit and Puru Chibber give another chance to their love
TV couple Aparna Dixit and Puru Chibber give another chance to their love

New Delhi: Popular TV couple Puru Chibber and Aparna Dixit who had parted ways due to the time issue and hectic

After Sanaya Irani, Aamna Sharif makes her INSTAGRAM debut
After Sanaya Irani, Aamna Sharif makes her INSTAGRAM debut

New Delhi: This is 2016, and television stars are super active on their social media accounts as it is one of the best

YEH HAI MOHABBATEIN: Raman fights and INSULTS Ishita
YEH HAI MOHABBATEIN: Raman fights and INSULTS Ishita

New Delhi:  Yes you read it correct! Karan Patel, who plays the role of Raman Bhalla in the show will insult Ishita.

scorecard

ABP Live Newsletters