A recent study describes two different techniques invented by gelada monkeys to manipulate stones in an unusual way. It’s only boys who do it.
To delve deeper into animal-based art, a recent study looked into the lives of gelada monkeys . They are Ethiopia’s most famous baboons. The researchers described two new techniques used by geladas for manipulating the stones similar to those of children for drawing. The two monkeys on which the study focused rubbed the stone on a hard surface several times. In the other case they collected small pieces of stone like chalk.
This suggests that creativity and innovation may have deep roots in the evolution of human behavior. It is not possible at the moment to understand the reason for communicating their art. We can only watch these animals paint with ocher and chalk and see that they love to do it. It is possible that the geladas have only reproduced a misunderstood gesture and then appropriated it with new meanings. It seems that the gesture of drawing is not evolutionary, still others think that using stones is used to get food.
The curious thing is that this artistic behavior on the manipulation of the stone has been done only by males . However, the females are no less intelligent and unable to reproduce the same behavior. Perhaps this attitude has not yet spread to the group level. They wouldn’t be the only non-human primates to make playful use of stones.
- Gelada monkeys, the baboons that use stones to draw (kodami.it)