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» New Study on Tool-Using Monkeys Contradicts Evolution Theory


Modern-day monkeys living in forests of Thailand have been found to make stone artifacts eerily similar to those thought to have been made by early humans. This discovery challenges the accepted story of human cultural evolution.

The long-tailed macaque monkeys produced stone artifacts “indistinguishable from what we see at the beginning of the [human] archeological record — what we see as the onset of being human,” said Lydia Luncz of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and a co-author on the study. 

To be clear, tool use in primates has long been known. The mischievous and social macaques are often seen using stones to break apart shells to reach the meat inside. When they forage on beaches, the clever monkeys use long, narrow and heavy stones which are perfect for popping open oyster shells. If they were to use wider rocks, they risk smashing them into sharp fragments which could cause a problem if a careless monkey tries to stick its face into a jagged hole.

The researchers also found evidence that the macaques use the same stone tools to obtain nuts. To do this, they strike two rocks together. When they miss a strike, sometimes flakes might come off rocks. Making flakes is similar to a toolmaking process called “knapping.” Ancient humans are thought to have made a flexible set of tools by using knapping — tools which cannot be distinquished from the ones made by the macaques.

Scientists believe that monkeys made their artifacts by accident, rather than by design. But that only makes the discovery more confusing. Luncz said that “all the conoidal flakes we find in the archaeological record — deemed to be intentionally made — could be unintentional byproducts.” Luncz points out that at the point early humans are thought to have evolved big-enough brains, they became smart enough to make tools by design. But the study suggests ancient humans could have made their stone stone flakes by accident, just as they believe the macaques have done.

Luncz added, “An accidental stone breakage could have led us down the evolutionary trajectory of making stone tools.” But that idea is controversial. Some scientists don’t want to call the monkey tools “artifacts” because that implies intention, planning and humanity, and these researchers don’t think there should be an overlap between tool use by Homo sapiens and that of monkeys.

People were not happy with monkeys being able to create those artifacts,” Luncz said. “And somewhere in the records of macaque and early hominid tools, there must be a difference. But right now, the diagnostic criteria we’re using can’t find one.”

The controversy between these scientists involves what it means to be human. There is a long-standing debate over whether animal social learning can be described with the loaded word “culture.” Although Luncz doesn’t use that word, nevertheless, she notes that “nut cracking in primates is socially transmitted — a monkey in isolation doesn’t learn it. It’s our material culture that we use to recreate our history.”

Comments: It is not hard to have some sympathy for paleontologists as they struggle to understand what went on in nature before scientists were around to observe, take notes, and do experiments. For now, we can be sure that most secular scientists will stick to their beliefs that primates like apes and monkeys had to evolve their intelligence over the eons in order to eventually become Homo sapiens.

One wonders though how secular scientists work around the observations of non-primate tool use if they believe toolmaking is a sign that humanity is evolving. New Caledonian crows make tools by fashioning twigs into spears and hooks which they use to eat grubs. Sea otters will use rocks or other hard objects to dislodge food. According to Live Science, bottlenose dolphins can carry “marine sponges in their beaks to stir ocean-bottom sand and uncover prey, spending more time hunting with tools than any animal besides humans.”

Live Science says, “Scientists once thought of tool use as a defining feature of humans, but increasingly research is showing adept tool users on land, air and sea in the animal kingdom. Investigating how such behavior developed in this diverse mix promises to shed light on how tool use might have originated in humanity.”

But Live Science is wrong in thinking secular researchers will ever get a clear picture of any “evolution” of tool use. It is more reasonable to believe the knowledge of how to make and use tools was built into animals when they were created and has nothing to do with evolution. And we know that the earliest humans must have had tools in order to build cities (Genesis 4:17) and to make tents and musical instruments (Genesis 4:20-21).

But our most useful tool is the Holy Bible because like a light it shows us the way to heaven. “and that from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Let us use this tool more than any tool we have in our toolbox or garage. These man-made tools can’t save us for eternity.

By Warren Krug

Reference: Saul Elbein, “New study on monkeys using stone tools raises questions about evolution,” The Hill (March 10, 2023). (Photo of a macaque.)




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What are black holes?

Black holes are objects in space which contain so much gravity that they pull anything nearby into them—dust, gas, rocks and even light. Giant black holes can devour even entire stars. Fortunately, there is no black hole anywhere near Earth.

Source: “Hungry Holes,” Kids Answers (October-December, 2022), page 25.


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About Me--Warren Krug
Decades ago I attended a so-called Lutheran university where I could have lost my faith. The science professors promoted the theory of evolution and made fun of anybody who believed in the account of creation as presented in the book of Genesis. Thanks be to God, some creationist literature and the Bible soon helped get me back on the right track. Ever since then I have taken an active interest in the creation/evolution controversy.

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