Stone tools are hardly something to be excited about in today’s world of connectivity and high tech gadgets. However, what if those stone tools were being used by something that wasn’t human?
Non-human Primates (AKA Chimps) are clever. But recently studies have confirmed something startling: the Chimps of the world have embarked upon their own stone age.
For an idea of how extraordinary these findings are, here are some things that happened during the human stone age: we learned how to control fire, we domesticated dogs, we began making pottery and small boats like canoes. Of course, chimpanzees may be a long way off from harnessing fire, domesticating other animals or taking to the seas, but the discovery of stone tools does raise concerns about how we treat the chimpanzees in the modern world. If they are following the same evolutionary trajectory as human beings, we need to prepare ourselves to treat these creatures as equals. Eventually.
Experimentation and scientific tests on chimpanzees has been banned in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Spain and a few others have even gone so far as to grant chimps limited human rights. The United States is behind on this respect, but in the New York state courts there is a lawsuit that demands chimps receive full person-hood in the United States, and all the protections that come with it. This may be taking it a bit far, but it is certainly an issue Americans need to consider.
What happens when chimps start gathering around a fire? Or using clay to create pots? Or even, using words to communicate with each other? If Humans are around long enough to witness our chimp cousins become intelligent creatures, there will be a lot of changes society will have to consider. We may not be the only intelligent animals on earth for much longer…