Scientists Answer: Why Do Capuchin Monkeys Grind Stones to Dust and Lick? Compared to spa treatments, it may not be pleasant to apply the stone, which is powdered and mixed with saliva, on your body.
However, scientists believe that bearded capuchin monkeys use this technique as a treatment to prevent parasites.
A study of primates published on Monday found that animals living in a remote national park in northeastern Brazil dusted the stones, mixed the powder with saliva and then rub it onto their bodies.
Brazilian primatologist Tiago Falótico noted:
"We have several theories that explain this, such as using quartz to combat parasites through ingestion of powder or use it against external parasites such as lice by rubbing it into the body. We haven’t tested these hypotheses yet."
The researchers noted that the animals used stones in a range of activities, including digging up stones, crushing seeds, crushing nuts, and hitting stones at stones.
Falótico said the purpose of the last one was to “crush the quartzite pebbles in order to lick the dust or rub it on their bodies”.
He stated that this behavior is not thought to be common among capuchin monkeys, and that it is common in the community that his team observes.
The researchers found a total of 29 different tools, 16 of which were used only for crushing, 12 for digging, and one for hitting the stone against the stone.
The researchers noted that apes provide a model for understanding how humans evolved to use these tools.
At the beginning of the study, published in the Journal of Archeological Science: Reports, Falótico from the University of São Paulo, as well as archaeologists from the Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution in Spain and the University College London, and an anthropologist from the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. took place.
His research, which is the first to characterize tools used by bearded capuchins living in nature, focused on primates living in the Serra da Capivara National Park in Piauí, Brazil.
Researchers found that monkeys sometimes use the same tool for more than one activity, but this is unusual.
Monkeys can also use different tools for the same activity. For example, it was observed that the animals widened a cleft in the rock and then searched for food in the breach through branches.
"It depends on the environment. Serra da Capivara özgü a lot of rocks and stones, so they can easily switch between tools. Where less stone is available, they can use the same tool for different purposes"
We observed that the monkeys used a stone they used for digging to crush a tuber they found by digging them later.
It was observed that the capuchin monkeys of Serra da Capivara used twigs, sticks, and other types of wood materials as tools. Falótico added:
"Instruments may have been collected in this case. For example, they can change the shape and size by separating leaves and branches. They may understand the physical properties of these tools."
Although males were observed to be more preoccupied with objects, the researchers found that males and females were equally good at using tools once they acquired the skill.