Scientific American is previewing an article by Michael Haslam from their March issue, “The Other Tool Users”. The article focuses on the use of archaeological methods to recover information about tool use by nonhuman animals.
This is an archaeological dig, and it looks much like you might imagine, with buckets, sieves, strings, levels, collecting bags and measuring tapes strewn about. Yet the ancient objects that drew me here to the small island of Piak Nam Yai in Laem Son National Park are not typical archaeological finds. I am not looking for coins, or pottery, or the remains of an old settlement, or long-lost human culture. Instead I am after bygone traces of the monkey culture that is on full display up the beach.
Many thoughts in the article about how nutcracking and other uses for stone may have “pre-adapted” early hominins for later stone tool manufacture by the widespread unintended generation of sharp flakes.