Scientists have just announced a group of monkeys in Panama may have entered their own stone age. A population of white-faced capuchin monkeys, living on the Panamanian island of Jicaron, have been seen using stones to crack open nuts and shellfish. Scientists observed the monkeys using stones in 2004 but only returned in March last year to catch the clever little guys on camera. They believe the skill was learnt ‘by chance’ and don’t know precisely when the 6-million-year inhabitants of the island began the practice.
The white-faced capuchin, also known as the white-headed capuchin and the white-throated capuchin, is a medium sized species of monkey, native to the jungles of Central America and the northern regions of South America.
The white-faced capuchin is one of the most well known monkeys, particularly in North America, and the white-faced capuchin is thought to be one of the most intelligent monkeys in the world, with the white-faced capuchin being best known as a companion for organ grinders as well as being used to assist people who are paraplegic.
This marks the fourth-observed group and non-human primates that have used stoned for tools. Other species who’ve demonstrated similar practises include west African chimpanzees, macaques in Thailand, and other species of capuchins in South America.