Could it really be the case that chimpanzees believe in some sort of deity?
That’s the question being asked after a video in which chimps appear to engage in bizarre ritualistic behaviour emerged.
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Chimpanzees in West Africa were filmed banging and throwing rocks against trees and into the gaps inside for no apparent reason whatsoever.
The piles of stones they assembled have been compared by one scientist to the ritual cairns made by humans throughout history.
‘This represents the first record of repeated observations of individual chimpanzees exhibiting stone tool use for a purpose other than extractive foraging at what appear to be targeted trees,’ researchers said.
Monkeys believe in God?
‘The ritualized behavioural display and collection of artefacts at particular locations observed in chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing may have implications for the inferences that can be drawn from archaeological stone assemblages and the origins of of ritual sites.’
For humans, stone piles have long symbolised burial sites and shrines, and scientists believe the chimps’ behaviour could represent a similar instinct.Researcher Laura Kehoe said that watching the chimpanzees behave in this way ‘gave me goose bumps.’